WINTERVILLE, N.C. — Pitt Community College Athletics Director Dawn Manning announced Friday that Amy Gardner has been named the Bulldogs’ new head softball coach. 

   “We are thrilled to welcome Amy to the Bulldog family,” Manning said. “Coach Gardner brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion that will provide a spark to our softball program and our athletics department. She also brings a seasoned staff that will make an immediate impact on our student-athletes.” 

   Gardner, who replaces Cassie Harrell at the helm of Pitt’s softball program, has spent the past 19 years serving as athletics director at The Oakwood School in Greenville. 

   “It was difficult to leave Oakwood,” Gardner said. “Everyone there has been so good to me over the years. 

   “I will greatly miss the students, staff, coaches and parents that make Oakwood such a special place,” she continued. “I prayed on it, and I know that PCC is where God wants me to be right now to uplift these girls and help move the program forward.” 

   Gardner has been deeply invested in Pitt County softball over the years and has worked with several PCC players in the past, including the late Abby Foster, a member of the 2021 Pitt softball team who died in a car crash shortly after finishing her freshman campaign. 

   “When I accepted the position, my first call was to Abby Foster’s parents,” Gardner said. “I let them know that she will be remembered in our program. When I met with our team for the first time, I shared her story and told them that Abby will have a special place on all of our teams.” 

   Gardner stressed the importance of character in her program. “It’s a coach’s job to uplift players,” she said. “I’m not looking for fame or recognition; it’s all about the girls. Our players will be kind, humble and respectful to everyone. With that foundation in place, we’ll build something we can all be proud of.”

PCC opens the 2023 season Feb. 3 at Chowan College.