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WELCOME TO VIRGINIA SOFTBALL

A NEW ERA

There's never been a more exciting time for Virginia softball than now. After 25 years of softball at The Park, the Cavaliers officially moved into their new home in 2020. Palmer Park, named after UVA softball legend Lisa Palmer, provides the Hoos with a home unmatched in the collegiate landscape and sets the stage for a return to national prominence.

TOUR PALMER PARK

Palmer Park is an all-encompassing facility, housing a locker room, team lounge, film/study room, coaches meeting room, athletic training and player development center. Join assistant coaches Jake Sidwell and Shae Braxton on a virtual tour of Palmer Park.

THE LOCKER ROOM

The Virginia locker room at Palmer Park features 25 wooden lockers for players featuring overhead and under-seat storage along with a lockable cabinet. Players have 24/7 access to the facility, which also features a large private restroom and showers.

TEAM LOUNGE

Located immediately adjacent to the locker room, the team lounge provides players an area to relax, study, hang out with teammates or grab a bite to eat. The lounge features couches and a large TV for players to enjoy, a kitchenette, tables and snack area stocked by UVA Sports Nutrition.

THE FIELD

One of the premier playing surfaces in all of college softball, Palmer Park features a Bermuda grass surface in the outfield and a clay mixture infield.

Palmer Park measures 210' down the left and right field lines and 220' to center field. The outfield is ringed by a unique split fence and berm, allowing spectators to enjoy a 360° viewing experience. Fans are also treated to views of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Carter's Mountain looming in the mountains beyond left-center field.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT CENTER

Located beyond the left field wall is Virginia's new indoor Player Development Center. The PDC is a 60'x60' space featuring three batting cages and a dedicated pitching lane. The netting is fully collapsible, allowing for indoor infield work or a number of configurations to fit team needs. The PDC also features television screens to allow for immediate video analysis and a player-favorite feature: the space's state-of-the-art sound system.

MEET THE STAFF

HEAD COACH

JO HARDIN

• Led Virginia to its best start since 2012 in shortened 2020 season

• Guided Virginia to two ACC tournaments in first three seasons. The first two appearances since 2013

• Led pitching staff to 3.70 ERA in 2020, best since 2013

• Virginia pitchers averaged 6.85 K/7 in 2020, the best mark since 2012 and fourth best in UVA history

• Has signed three-straight recruiting classes with multiple top 100 prospects

Assistant Coach & REcruiting Coordinator

JAKE SIDWELL

• Helped Virginia to its best start since 2012 at 8-4 in his first season

• Guided Virginia hitters to a .279 mark in non-conference play during shortened 2020 season

• Led a Virginia offense that averaged better than 4 runs per game and scored 7+ runs 8 times

ASsistant coach

SHAE BRAXTON

• Leads Virginia's defensive efforts and helped team to its best fielding percentage since 2013 in first season on staff

• Her defense turned eight double plays in 22 games in 2020

• Helped Virginia to its best start to a season since 2012

“College athletics is a challenging enterprise. The way that Virginia wants to do it is the way that I am built to do it, and we'll continue to focus on academic achievement. We'll do it with integrity. We'll give maximum effort, and we're going to come together as a team, not just within our different sports teams, but within the athletic department and within the Charlottesville community.

"To prospective students and prospective student-athletes in every sport, throughout the commonwealth of Virginia and across the country, if you are looking for a place to make big dreams a reality, if you are looking for a place to achieve goals that seem unimaginable, if you are looking for a place to defy the odds, I've found that place. Come join us at UVA, Go Hoos. ” - UVA Athletics Director Carla Williams

The Virginia athletics department has evolved into one of the most successful in the nation as witnessed by its success on the field in both Atlantic Coast Conference play and NCAA Championship competition. Since 2002, UVA has won more ACC team championships – 82 – than any other school in the conference. During their proud athletics history, the Cavaliers have won 35 national championships, including 27 NCAA team titles.

The benchmark for overall excellence in collegiate athletics is The Director’s Cup. Its points standings reflect NCAA Championship finishes for all sports. Virginia is one of just 12 schools to have been ranked in the top 30 of the final Director’s Cup All-Sports point standings every year since 1994. UVA has finished in the top-10 of the Director’s Cup seven times in the last 10 years.

In 2015 and 2019, Virginia won the Capital One Cup as the nation’s top achieving men’s athletics program. The Cavaliers won national titles in men's soccer, men's tennis and baseball in 2015 and took home the championship trophy in basketball and men's lacrosse in 2019.

Numerous Virginia student-athletes have achieved greatness in professional sports, Olympic venues & on national teams in addition to being recognized for the scholastic achievements.

Since 2002, UVA has won more ACC team championships – 82 – than any other school in the conference. During their proud athletics history, the Cavaliers have won 35 national championships, including 27 NCAA team titles as well as more than 20 individual national champions.

Danielle Collins - Two-time NCAA Tennis Singles Champion

Part of the University of Virginia athletics department’s mission to provide the best experience for its student-athletes and fans is to build and maintain the highest quality facilities in the country. This purpose is aimed at attracting and developing the best student-athletes annually and providing fans with a top-notch game day experience.

Master Plan

Our Vision Forward: The new athletics complex redefines how we educate our student-athletes by improving our facilities and the support we provide as they study to achieve academic excellence, develop the necessary skills to become citizen leaders for tomorrow and train to compete for championships.

The complex, with an estimated cost of $180 million, includes a Football Operations Center, an Olympic Sports Center designed to provide support to all 750 student-athletes competing in 27 varsity sports, three natural grass practice fields and the renovation of the McCue Center — the current home of Virginia Football and the primary office building for athletics administration and a majority of our coaches.

EXCELLENT SUPPORT

The excellence achieved by Virginia’s student-athletes has not been confined to competitive venues. Thanks to strong support systems, UVA student-athletes consistently excel in the classroom and participate in many extracurricular activities. In 2019-20, a record 496 Cavaliers were named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll that recognizes student-athletes who registered a grade point average of 3.00 or better for the entire academic year. The honor of honors is graduating from Virginia and making the walk down the Lawn.

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING

The dedicated strength and conditioning and performance staffs at UVA maximize fitness and assist student-athletes to properly train, fuel and recover in preparation for competition. Each team has a dedicated coach to help utilize the most appropriate training methods each individual student-athlete based on his or her needs, end goals and baseline readiness. It is a holistic, athlete-centered process that focuses on the development and enhancement of physical qualities that underpin the general and specific needs of each athlete for his or her sport.

ACADEMICS

The excellence achieved by Virginia’s student-athletes has not been confined to competitive venues. Thanks to strong support systems, UVA student-athletes consistently excel in the classroom and participate in many extracurricular activities.

The athletics academic affairs staff oversees registration and eligibility requirements of a diverse group of student-athletes. They communicate directly with coaching staffs concerning student needs and progress. Along with dedicated staff members for each team, tutors and mentors are readily available for individual assistance. 

NUTRITION

Director of Sports Nutrition Randy Bird is responsible for the development and coordination of optimal nutritional services at Virginia and for the nutritional development of its student-athletes. Bird consults with the coaches and student-athletes to provide direction and communicate the value of nutrition programs specifically designed to promote their health and performance.

Bird works with the a certified executive chef to develop menus for the training table that meet the needs of all of UVA’s teams and student-athletes. He also conducts cooking demonstrations and grocery shopping exercises to help student-athletes enhance their personal nutrition plans.

SPORTS MEDICINE

The mission of the department of sports medicine and Associate Director of Athletics/Head Athletic Trainer Ethan Saliba is to provide the "Gold Standard" of health care for Division I student-athletes. The "Gold Standard" is exemplified by having NCAA, Olympic and National teams look to UVA as the best product for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for the elite athlete. Saliba and his staff manage all daily athletic training room operations, including injury management and rehabilitation and ensuring medical coverage for all student-athletes.

SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

The mission of the University of Virginia Sport Psychology unit is to promote mental well-being, safety, and optimal performance in all aspects of student-athlete life. We respect and sustain our student-athletes’ autonomy, resiliency, and confidentiality. We provide confidential one-to-one meetings for members of all 27 of our Division-I sports. Through enhancing student-athletes' ability to embrace challenges successfully, we help optimize their experience in their roles as students, as athletes, and as community members. We also lead team meetings and consult with coaches and other support staff to enhance performance, communication, and coping skills of our entire Athletics Department. Our model of having two full-time licensed sport psychologists "in-house" in the athletics department is one of only four of its kind in the nation and sets the standard for other Division-I schools.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Located in the foothills of Virginia‘s Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is home to more than 43,475 residents with a metropolitan population nearing 200,000. Charlottesville is a small, thriving city, 120 miles from Washington, D.C.

The downtown area is an 18-block, brick-paved pedestrian mall with more than 30 outdoor cafes and restaurants, numerous modern theaters as well as several music venues. From April through October, Charlottesville celebrates Fridays After Five downtown, with free live music at its amphitheater, the Charlottesville Pavilion. Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena hosts a number of attractions including concerts, family shows and community events. Performers like the Rolling Stones, U2, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Charlottesville‘s own Dave Matthews Band have all been a part of the town’s music scene.

The countryside around Charlottesville and the neighboring areas, especially in the spring and fall, ranks among the most beautiful sites in the nation. For the outdoor lovers, there are plenty of hiking trails and vineyards to explore. The region is rich in history and offers numerous Civil War sites in addition to the homes of three early American Presidents – Monticello, home of the University's founder, Thomas Jefferson, Ashlawn-Highlands, home of James Monroe, and Montpelier, home of James Madison.

For years, Charlottesville has been chosen as one of the best places to live in the United States. It has been named: Best college town in the country by Traveler‘s Today; best town for food lovers by Wine Magazine; the country's favorite mountain town by Travel & Leisure; and most recently, the ‘Happiest City’ in America by US National Bureau of Economic Research.

The No. 1 ranked College Town in America by Traveler's Today

THE UNIVERSITY

The University of Virginia provides a college experience unlike any other.

As one of the finest academic institutions in the world, UVA's purpose goes beyond education. We create the next generation of leaders. We usher in the breakthroughs of tomorrow. It is our responsibility to be a force for good in the world. Our graduates take these values with them and go on to achieve historic success. With a tenacious spirit, a life-long commitment to integrity, and an endless drive, we pursue a greater tomorrow.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW >>> CLICK HERE

The University of Virginia is distinctive among institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University sustains the ideal of developing, through education, leaders who are well-prepared to help shape the future of the nation and world. The University is public, while nourished by the strong support of its alumni. It is also selective; the students who come here have been chosen because they show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned.

For more in-depth information about the University of Virginia, check out this Exposure LINK

WAHOOWA!

Virginia has many traditions held dear by Cavalier fans and alums that originated from its athletics program. The school colors of orange and blue are proudly displayed everywhere around Grounds and in Charlottesville. Cavaliers, Wahoos and Hoos are used interchangeably to refer to the University teams and players. Cavman, the beloved mascot of UVA, is a crowd favorite. Singing “The Good Old Song” is a tradition that dates back to the 1890s when fans welcomed back a victorious football team and it is still sung today when the Cavaliers score at football games and at the conclusion of all athletics contests as well as other University functions.

The passionate fan base is very vocal and loyal, while the ‘HooCrew,’ the UVA student fan group, won the 2015 Naismith Award for the nation’s best men's basketball student section. Wahoowa!