Giorgiana Zeremenko

Lessons from the Softball Diamond

Alumni Q&A with Giorgiana Zeremenko

Giorgiana Zeremenko (BS ’18), the new assistant coach of the University of Pittsburgh softball team, is no stranger to Pitt.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the School of Education, Zeremenko was a catcher and utility player for the first Pitt softball team to reach the ACC Championship and NCAA Regional Final in 2015. She also helped lead the Panthers to their first ACC Coastal Division title in 2018 and is a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic All-Region selection who was named to the All-ACC First Team in 2018.

In this Q&A, Zeremenko shares how her experiences as a student-athlete have influenced her coaching career and reflects on her time in the exercise science program. Her responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job?

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is watching the athletes grow over the years. As a coach, you get to watch them grow as a person, not just a softball player

When did you first become interested in softball, and what led to you becoming the assistant coach of the Pitt softball team?

“I grew up playing softball from the age of 5 years old. I played travel softball for the Lady Knights and Team PA. These opportunities are what led me to play collegiate softball at the University of Pittsburgh. I went on to play professionally for a year after I graduated from Pitt. I immediately started my coaching career after that as the Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach at the University of Louisville. After two years there, I made stops at Saint Francis University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania as an assistant softball coach. I spent the last two years at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as an assistant softball coach.”

What inspired you to become a coach?

“After having such a great playing experience, I wanted to have an impact and help develop ballplayers into strong, young women to excel at life. My softball coaches over the years had such a big influence on why I wanted to coach. They helped me through some of the toughest times in my life and gave me opportunities that I never would’ve gotten if I didn’t play softball. These people and the sport itself shaped me into the person and coach I am today.”

What were your favorite aspects of the exercise science program at the Pitt School of Education?

“My favorite thing about the exercise science program is the people. The program is run very well, and the faculty and staff invest in the students. They genuinely want to know you. Being a student-athlete is hard, but my professors were always so supportive and helped me with whatever I needed. They truly wanted to help me succeed. In life, you need a great support system and that is what Pitt gave me.”

You were a part of the Pitt softball team to reach the ACC Championship game and then win the school’s first ACC Coastal Division title. What was that experience like for you?

“Making history is always fun but doing it for your city makes it that much better. It makes you feel as if all your hard work paid off. These accomplishments are something I will cherish forever. Pitt Softball was, and will always be, my family. The culture and the people are what made these accomplishments possible.”

In what ways do you think that winning those games influences your coaching now?

“I am a very competitive person. Nothing compares to the thrill of playing in a high-stakes game. I still get the same rush being a coach. The high-pressure situations taught me a lot about myself and they are lessons I still use to this day.”