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UVA softball coach Joanna Hardin announces new hires for pitching coach, hitting coach

Chris Graham
virginia softball
Photo: UVA Athletics

UVA softball coach Joanna Hardin has a new pitching coach, hiring Jamie Allred, late of North Texas, to replace Mike Roberts, who left last month to take a job as pitching coach at Wisconsin.

Hardin also hired a new hitting coach, Jeff Tylka, who had spent the last three seasons at Penn State.

Tylka replaces Jake Sidwell, who took an assistant job at Jacksonville earlier this month.

The revamp comes as Hardin, who signed a three-year extension on June 27, works to build on Virginia’s back-to-back winning seasons.

Virginia was 30-22 in 2023, but the program still hasn’t earned an NCAA Tournament bid since 2010, and hasn’t sniffed a bid since Hardin took over ahead of the 2017 season.

Hardin’s UVA teams have played to a 139-197 overall record in her seven seasons at the helm.

The pitching side of things seems to be in good shape. Virginia ranked fourth in the ACC in team ERA in 2022 (2.96), led by rising sophomore Eden Bigham, who was 13-6 with a 2.52 ERA.

“I’m so appreciative to Coach Hardin and Athletics Director Carla Williams for the opportunity to join the Virginia program,” Allred said. “Coach Jo has been a longtime friend and mentor of mine, and I am thrilled to be joining her at UVA. I can’t wait to get to work with the pitching staff as we prepare for the season and the next step for our program.”

Allred played for Hardin at McNeese State, where the duo made an NCAA Regional appearance in 2016.

“I am thrilled to add Jamie to our coaching staff,” Hardin said. “It’s such a blessing to coach with a former player, especially one as talented as Jamie. Her mind for the game and pitching is one of a kind as is her passion to grow and develop young women. Her body of work speaks for itself. She and I have a long history together and I am so excited we get to make more history together at UVA.”

Allred, who spent the past five seasons as the pitching coach at North Texas, will need to account for the production of departing UVA seniors Molly Grube (7-9, 2.52 ERA) and Jenny Bresler (7-3, 2.79 ERA).

Her North Texas staff put up a sparkling 2.13 team ERA in 2023 as the Mean Green advanced to an NCAA regional final at seventh-seeded Oklahoma State, so she seems to have coaching chops.

Tylka has his work cut out for him. Virginia ranked ninth in the 13-team ACC in 2023 in runs (238) and homers (49), and was 10th in team batting average (.261).

“Thanks to Coach Joanna Hardin and Athletics Director Carla Williams for this opportunity to join the coaching staff here at the University of Virginia,” Tylka said. “We’re hitting the ground running and I’m looking forward to working with an amazing group of student-athletes that are part of our program. I’m excited to get on the field and start working with them to help each of them become the best version of themselves they can be in all aspects – as students, athletes and individuals.”

Tylka’s Penn State hitters, in 2023, ranked in the top five in program history in RBI (197), home runs (38) and doubles (73).

“Jeff is excellent; he is proven, professional and an even better man than coach,” Hardin said. “His athletes love working with him, and he is a teacher at heart, which is exactly what we wanted in this position. I believe his expertise, experience and values will make an immediate impact on the offense and develop the talent we have in the program.  We are so excited that Jeff’s family will be added into the program. The Tylkas are a home run for UVA!”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].