Penn State Altoona Announces Merilli as New Softball Coach
7/27/2015 — ALTOONA, Pa. – Penn State Altoona athletics has hired Joe Merilli to be the head coach of its varsity women’s softball team. He becomes the sixth head coach in the history of the program.
"I admire Joe’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport of softball," said Interim Director of Athletics Brent Baird. "I feel confident his knowledge and expertise will keep our program a contender, both within our conference and regionally. Penn State Altoona looks forward to the continued success of our softball team under Joe’s leadership."
Merilli’s fastpitch coaching career began in 1995 and has included experience at the high school, collegiate, travel ball, and recreation levels.
"I want to thank Brent Baird for the opportunity to lead the softball program at Penn State Altoona," said Merilli. "I look forward to continuing to build on the recent success of the program, both academically and on the field, while bringing a level of stability and excellence to the program for years to come."
Merilli started the first junior high softball program at Altoona’s Bishop Guilfoyle High School in 2003-2004, then became head coach of the Lady Marauders varsity squad from 2006-2011. Merilli’s Bishop Guilfoyle varsity teams compiled a 59-12 record from 2007-2009 and earned the only District 6 title and PIAA Western Final appearance in school history.
Merilli was also the head coach of the Pittsburgh Power girls fastpitch softball program from 2005-2009.
In 2012, Merilli joined the coaching staff at New York University-Polytechnic as a pitching coach. In his first year with the Blue Jays, the team’s earned run average dropped from over 3.00 runs per game to under 2.00 runs per game and was ranked 28th in the country among all NCAA Division III schools.
After two seasons at NYU-Polytechnic, Merilli returned to Bishop Guilfoyle in 2014-2015 to take over a team that was 0-45 the previous three seasons, and he helped rebuild the program to a competitive level in just one year. Playing in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, the Lady Marauders won their first three games of the season before suffering a 6-5 loss in the PIAA Class A District playoffs.
Merilli’s playing career began in little league and continued into the Altoona Teener Baseball League. Most recently, he played softball in the State College Recreation League from 1986-1994 until the start of his coaching career.
Merilli is a 1981 graduate of Altoona Area High School and the Altoona Career and Technology Center with a certificate in Scientific Data Processing. He graduated in 1985 from Penn State Altoona with a degree in Computer Science, and he is currently a partner at PS Solutions with offices in Altoona and Pittsburgh.
"It is very difficult to leave Bishop Guilfoyle," said Merilli. "However, since I began coaching, it has always been one of my dreams to coach college softball at my alma mater."
Merilli resides in Altoona with his wife, Becky, and has three daughters, Kristin, Miranda, and Jennie Jo.
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