Softball to Retire Jersey of Winningest Head Coach Joyce Compton
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina softball program announced Monday (Feb. 7) that the team’s all-time winningest coach Joyce Compton, will have her jersey retired in a ceremony prior to their game against Ole Miss Saturday, April 23. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., with first pitch against the Rebels scheduled for 3 p.m.
A legendary figure in the softball world, Joyce Compton retired following the 2010 season after 24 years at the University of South Carolina, while helping take the program to the Women’s College World Series twice and to NCAA tournaments on 13 occasions. Three times her teams won an NCAA regional. Compton’s jersey will be unveiled on the outfield wall at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field, joining former Gamecock great Trinity Johnson who had her jersey retired in 2019.
“I am very appreciative, humbled and honored to have my jersey retired,” Compton said. “It is only because of the assistant coaches that I have been fortunate to have worked with and those players who choose South Carolina to play their college softball, that has made this possible. So, this honor is obviously not mine alone, but for all of these coaches and players that wore the Garnet and Black.”
Inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002, Compton was instrumental in the Southeastern Conference adopting softball as a sport in the mid 1990’s. Once established, Compton’s teams won four Eastern Division titles, two SEC Tournament trophies and the 1997 SEC Championship, the first season of the league’s existence. Her record at South Carolina closed at 951-486-4 (.661), the winningest coach in South Carolina Athletics history.
Under her guidance, 11 Gamecocks earned a total of 21 All-America plaques, 28 earned 62 All-Region honors, while 12 garnered 15 All-SEC honors over the first 14 years of conference play. One player won the Honda Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in softball. Twice, Compton coached the SEC Player of the Year, while she mentored the SEC Female Athlete of the Year once.
The matriarch of SEC softball, Compton twice was named the SEC Coach of the Year, while she earned five Region Coach of the Year awards at South Carolina. Her teams performed well in the classroom as well, with 142 SEC Academic Honor Roll selections coming since 1997.
National marks her players set still stand today. Tricia Popowski set the NCAA Division I record for triples in her career at Carolina under Compton, while Trinity Johnson still holds the nation’s record with 12 consecutive shutouts. The 1997 squad set a then NCAA Division I record, now fourth all-time, winning 38 straight games during that season.
With an NCAA Division I record of 1,066-563-4, Compton ranked 10th among all NCAA softball coaches regardless of division and ninth in Division I history when she retired. Prior to coming to the Midlands, she spent four years at Missouri, where she went to the Women’s College World Series once while claiming the Tigers’ first Big 8 title.
A New Jersey native, Compton began her coaching career at Mattatuck Community College, going 93-19 in seven seasons there. She earned coach of the year accolades five times. In 35 years as a head coach, Compton compiled a record of 1,159-582-3.
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