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Hall of Fame 2023: Kim Pietro, Softball

by Brad Muller

The 2023 Class of the USC Association of Lettermen’s Hall of Fame will be inducted on Thursday, October 12. Those needing tickets to the event can still take advantage of a discount if purchased by October 1, 2023. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets!  

It’s been more than two decades since Kim Pietro (1996-1999) played softball for South Carolina, but she still ranks in the career top ten in a lot of categories. While records don’t last forever, Pietro is excited to be one of eight former Gamecocks to be immortalized in October as part of the 2023 class of the University of South Carolina Association of Lettermen’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

“When the call came to be in the Hall of Fame, it became real,” said Pietro, who was a three-time First Team All-SEC and NFCA All-Region selection while earning All-American honors as a senior. “The recognition and validation is certainly great. Few things are forever, so this feels very special, and I must thank my teammates as softball is a team sport and I was fortunate to play among the best.”

Pietro led the Gamecocks to three NCAA Regional appearances in four years, including a berth in the 1997 Women’s College World Series. Her best season came in 1999 when she was named the SEC Softball Player of the Year and earned first-team NFCA All-America and CoSIDA Academic All-America honors after leading the team in batting average (.419), hits (83), runs (42) and doubles (16). Pietro still ranks in the school’s all-time top-10 list in numerous categories, including batting average (.346), hits (227), runs (135), doubles (55), triples (12) and total bases (348). In addition, she was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member. In 2012, Pietro was selected to represent South Carolina for the women’s SEC Legend Award.

Softball alumni

Former Gamecock Softball Teammates Sondra Hall, Nikki Beers, Trinity Johnson, and KimPietro.

“South Carolina and head coach Joyce Compton provided me with opportunities, experiences and discipline that continue to drive my career and athletic endeavors today.”
Kim Pietro  . 

Originally from New Jersey, she came to South Carolina in part because of the softball program and the leadership of former head coach Joyce Compton.

“South Carolina and head coach Joyce Compton provided me with opportunities, experiences and discipline that continue to drive my career and athletic endeavors today,” Pietro said. “My experience at USC, playing in the World Series, competing, my friendships; they were a culture that is unmatched in any other life arena. The conditioning, the practice, the failure, the winning—it’s the meaning in my life that still animates who I am. The most intense pressures and excruciating losses were the adventure that I loved. Our teams had great energy, great spirit, and I loved the daily endeavor of training and competing. Strength coach Billy Anderson, assistant coaches, and my teammates were unmatched. My love for South Carolina is an invisible measure, and I will always have an athletic heart.”

Pietro was one of many great players who helped the program achieve one of its greatest seasons ever in 1997 by winning the SEC Regular Season and Tournament titles in their first year of competition in the league on the way to an appearance in the Women’s College World Series. That’s part of a long list of great memories.

“Going 63-5 and competing in the World Series was one of my best memories,” Pietro said. “There was also the pressure of a 37-game hitting streak that carried over two seasons, trying to hit batting practice off the great Trinity Johnson, playing alongside an All-American left and right fielder, Friday morning sleds, running the stadium and the upper deck, the elevator shaft, tape ball, making memories with teammates and my two best friends that were not softball players, playing for the legendary Joyce Compton, my upperclassmen teammates, having my parents see me play, going to men’s and women’s soccer games, my apartment in Whaley’s Mill, taking naps on a bench outside the library between classes, and of course, the Horseshoe. I loved being a student. I loved every bit of this place.”

Pietro currently works as a Vice President of Institutional Advancement at D’Youville University in Buffalo, New York.

“I’ve spent my entire career in New York state,” Pietro said. “Carolina was so enjoyable for me that being on a college campus for my professional career was a great decision.”

The game of softball has certainly changed over the years, and she is glad that the sport has gained so much exposure.

“I love that the sport is getting recognition and airtime, and it’s inspiring women to continue to play this game,” Pietro said.

“The technology of the bat and ball has also changed the sport since my time. It is really quite different now. It’s great that teams have more resources from better facilities to dedicated strength and conditioning coaches, sport psychologists and registered dieticians.”

As she prepares to return to campus for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Pietro is looking forward to making more memories.

“I’m looking forward to coming home to Carolina, re-connecting with friends, and especially teammates and coaches. I’m looking forward to being back on campus!”