PEMBROKE — Athletics department officials at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced Friday that Brittany Bennett has stepped down from her post as softball head coach after nine seasons.

The program’s all-time winningest coach with 216 victories, Bennett led the Black & Gold to five winning seasons, including a 26-21 mark in 2016 that snapped a streak of four-straight sub-.500 seasons for the program. UNCP registered a 29-24-1 record in 2016 – the third-most wins in the NCAA Division II era of the program – and posted a 27-21 mark this past season on their way to an appearance in the quarterfinals of the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

“I am so thankful for my time in Pembroke. The last nine years have allowed me to welcome many new people as extended family, and also see tremendous growth in our student-athletes,” Bennett said. “I will cherish the time in Brave Nation, and I’m looking forward to my next journey. Thank you to all of the students, coaches and staff that worked alongside me. “

The program collected 21 all-conference and eight preseason all-conference accolades under Bennett’s watch, as well as 15 all-region and all-state laurels. Two players – Jamie Johnson and Tatum Brummitt – combined to bring home a trio of all-America awards for the program, including a first team nod for Brummitt in 2021. Brummitt was also named a finalist for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Player of the Year honor last season as well.

Brummitt cruised to a share of the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year award in 2021, while Bennett was named the league’s coach of the year.

UNCP showed its prowess in the classroom under Bennett’s watch as well, logging a combined 3.24 cumulative grade point average, while also raking in 40 NFCA Scholar-Athlete laurels. Fifty-seven different players garnered conference presidential honor roll awards under her watch, while UNCP combined to register more than 50 PBC Team of Academic Distinction honors from 2014-21 as well.

“I’m very appreciative to Coach Bennett for her dedication and efforts on behalf of UNCP,” said athletics director Dick Christy. “Departing as our all-time wins leader is a direct result of her efforts to build our program, and I am confident that she will have continued success in the future.”

The Braves will begin a national search for the program’s new leader immediately. Stephanie Graziani, who joined the program as its assistant coach prior to the 2018 season, will serve as interim head coach until the position has been filled.

“I am appreciative to Coach Graziani for leading us as interim head coach during this important transition phase,” Christy said.