Georgia softball coach Harris-Champer retires

Credit: Photo provided by University of Georgia/Tim Casey

Credit: Photo provided by University of Georgia/Tim Casey

Georgia softball coach Lu Harris-Champer announced her retirement Sunday after 21 seasons at the school.

Associate Head Coach Tony Baldwin will serve as interim head coach. A national search will begin immediately, the school announced.

“A decision like this is always difficult, particularly when you work at a wonderful institution like the University of Georgia,” Harris-Champer said in a statement. “I am beyond grateful for my time here in Athens. I was truly blessed to work with tremendous colleagues and coach amazing student-athletes that mean so much to me. This decision came down to family. It was the right time for me to step away from the team and institution I love, while still being lucky enough to have more time with my children before they graduate high school. I am thankful to Coach (Vince) Dooley for giving me this opportunity and to Greg McGarity and the entire UGAAA family for all of their support on and off the field. I will always be proud of my time here.”

Harris-Champer’s career spanned 25 seasons as a college head coach, amassing over 1,100 victories. She took teams to 23 NCAA Tournaments and seven Women’s College World Series appearances. She concludes her career in the top-25 all-time in NCAA victories with 1,168. In her career, 23 student-athletes have earned All-America status 38 times from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). She began her head coaching career at Nicholls State (1996-97) before taking over at Southern Miss for two seasons (1999-2000) before taking over Georgia.

“Coach Harris-Champer has had a tremendous career,” Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said in a statement. “We were so lucky to have her lead our program from infancy to relevancy in the juggernaut softball conference that is the SEC. She built a strong foundation that we can build on and left a legacy of players and coaches that compete with integrity, toughness and pride. We are going to miss having her around the athletics department and the softball program. We are all better for having worked with her.”

Harris-Champer was just the second head softball coach in the Georgia’s history. She guided Georgia to 959 victories, two Southeastern Conference championships (2003, 2005), one SEC Tournament title (2014), 19-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 Super Regionals, and five trips to Oklahoma City including final four appearances in 2009 and 2010. She was named Coach of the Year three times by the SEC (2003, 2005, 2018).