Rocci Pignoli, former Temple University softball coach and member of the NFCA since 1985, passed away January 1 at the age of 60.
Pignoli, who retired from college coaching after the 2005 season, had moved with his wife Cheryl from Philadelphia to The Villages, Fla., to take advantage of the great golfing weather. While there, he worked many softball camps and clinics during his “retirement” and was currently helping with a high school softball team in the area.
“The softball community has lost one of its most beloved coaches,” said Lacy Lee Baker, executive director of the NFCA. “Rocci loved people and loved helping young players learn the game. He made a tremendous impact on his coaching colleagues as well and will be missed terribly by many.”
During his eight head-coaching years at Temple, Pignoli ranked second all-time with 175 wins. In tallying a 75-53 Atlantic 10 mark, he guided five teams to the conference's postseason tournament. The 2004 season was Pignoli's most successful as the Cherry and White mentor as he guided Temple to a 30-18 overall record, an Atlantic 10 conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Under Pignoli's tutelage, the Owls enjoyed five all-conference performers including the 2004 Pitcher of the Year, Kim Watkins, and the 2002 Rookie of the Year, Aida Esquer. Additionally, four Temple players received all-region recognition, nine were named to the conference's all-tournament team and four were honored as academic all-conference honorees with Pignoli at the helm. Before assuming the head coaching responsibilities in 1998, Pignoli served as an assistant coach from 1995-97 under head coach Carol Kashow.
Prior to his arrival at Temple, Pignoli enjoyed 26 years of coaching softball at the high school and league levels. Most notably, he guided Conestoga High School, in Berwyn, Pa., to a 44-5 record and two Central League Championships in 1993 and 1994.
Arrangements for Pignoli's burial have yet to be finalized, but there will be a memorial service in Philadelphia January 15. The NFCA will post more information as it becomes available.
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