AVE MARIA, Fla. – The Ave Maria University athletic department is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Kernan as the next head coach of the AMU softball program. Kernan will take over a program that had five All-Sun Conference selections a season ago, with three of those players set to return.
“I’m excited to welcome Coach Kernan to the Ave Maria family,” Ave Maria University athletic director Joe Patterson said. “His professionalism, positive energy, and competitive drive complement well his knowledge of the game.”
“I am honored and grateful for being selected as the next softball head coach at Ave Maria University, and the opportunities this position provides,” Kernan added. “I am excited to lead in the Gyrene athletic environment that maintains the utmost priorities during this phase of a college student-athletes life – God, family, and academics.
Kernan comes to Ave Maria after a storied career as the head softball coach at Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio. Over 19 seasons at Ursuline, Kernan produced 18 winning seasons and won 17 sectional championships. His resume also includes eight district championships and a trip to the state finals in 2009. This past season, he was named the Softball Coach of the Year by YSN, which covers high school sports in the Youngstown area.
His teams at Ursuline produced 15 players that were named All-State, as well as more than 40 players that were recognized as All-Northeast Ohio. During his time at Ursuline, he also served as a basketball coach, and was on the staff for a state championship team in 2004.
He also fostered the development of young players as the owner and operator of Softball U Academy in Youngstown, which he ran from 2010-17. During that period, numerous players that came through the academy moved on to collegiate careers.
In addition to his time at Ursuline, Kernan has also been a successful softball coach on the club circuit. In 2019 and 2020, he was the head coach of the Ohio USSSA Pride Green Select Elite 16U squad, where he posted a record of 48-10-2.
Kernan was an accomplished athlete in his own right, playing football at Hiram College in Ohio. He was a three-time All-Conference selection, and was an All-American during his senior season of 1987. For his efforts on the football field, Kernan was named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Patterson said that Kernan’s history of success, both in his own athletic endeavors and as a coach, will lend itself to building a top-level softball program at Ave Maria.
“Coach Kernan has been a consistent winner,” Patterson said. “I’m confident that he will build a successful program by every measurable category.”
Kernan added that his mission at Ave Maria will be to foster a winning program, both on the field and off.
“I am looking forward to creating a championship-caliber softball program where the players not only learn how to compete and win on the field, but also through their life’s journey,” he said.
Further information on the 2022 Ave Maria softball season, including the team’s roster and schedule, will be unveiled in the coming months.