UPDATE 09/19/17 14:12 When contacted by Justin's World of Softball, Villanova alum and current Lafayette College head coach Caitlyn de la Haba had this to say about DiBernardi's announcement:
“Coach Maria is unique in that she has gotten to be around this game at a high level for a long time. She has seen the game change, and continuously adapted and graduated successful women who go on to do fantastic things after graduation. She has truly seen it all. I couldn't be where I am today without Coach Maria. She has been such an important piece of my development as a person and coach, and I know she will continue to be one of the greatest mentors that I have. She truly cares about every single student athlete who comes through her program, and makes herself available when anyone needs her. Villanova Softball will miss her, but she has set the bar high for the future leader of the Wildcats.”
Wildcat great and current Providence pitching coach Kate Poppe expressed her thoughts, as well:
“It is hard to imagine Villanova Softball without Coach. She has been the face and backbone of the program for so long and [is] admired by the softball community for her commitment to the game. Though her coaching career is ending, her impact on VUSB will always be remembered and appreciated.”
With open positions still remaining from the 2017 head coaching firing-and-hiring season, the first opening of 2018 has already been named. Villanova longtime head coach Maria DiBernardi has announced that she will retire following the 2018 campaign.
The 2018 season will be DiBernardi's thirty-fourth as head coach of the Wildcats squad, and she enters her final campaign with a career record of 853-734-10.
DiBernardi ranks twenty-third amongst active coaches in the career wins category, and is the all-time winningest coach in Villanova program history. She is #40 all-time in career wins among Division I head coaches.
Under DiBernardi, the Wildcats advanced to sixteen conference tournaments since 1990, when the tournament format was implemented. She shepherded the Wildcats through the Big East/American conference split, and has seen her program turn out seventy-seven all-conference honorees during her tenure, including twenty-eight all-region nominees.
Villanova finished the 2017 season with a win-loss record of 35-20 and a 13-8 mark in conference play. The Wildcats recorded victories over UAB and South Florida during the course of the season, but fell to DePaul in the conference tournament semifinals.