Janelle Breneman’s first season at UNCG was a success after helping the program post 38 victories which is the third highest total in school history. The Spartans started the season 17-3 which was the best start since 2003.
Breneman led the Spartans to a berth in the Southern Conference title game falling in extra innings to Georgia Southern, 1-0, in her first season. Under her direction, UNCG saw its batting improve by 43 points in her first year. Breneman was instrumental in helping the Spartans set top five marks in runs scored (290), hits (449), doubles (72), slugging percentage (.422) and RBI (254).
Breneman helped two UNCG players earn All-Southern Conference first team honors in Katelyn Bedwell and Lindsay Thomas. Breneman mentored Thomas to being named the first UNCG Freshman of the Year in the SoCon. Also six Spartans’ made All-SoCon second team and two named to the All-Freshman squad. Bedwell made first team All-Region after Breneman tutored her to a career-high 52 runs batted in.
In the field, UNCG had only 71 errors, which are 10 less than the entire 2012 season. The Spartans’ also had a .958 fielding percentage under Breneman during her first season.
Breneman, who has spent the past eight years in the SEC and ACC, was named the ninth head softball coach in UNCG softball history July 18, 2012. Breneman brings 17 years of collegiate coaching experience to UNCG, including nine years as a head coach at both Bucknell and East Stroudsburg.
Breneman spent the past two seasons as the top assistant coach in the prestigious SEC at South Carolina under head coach Beverly Smith. She was the infield coach and played a pivotal role in the team’s defense, while assisting the team’s offense. Under her direction, South Carolina saw its fielding percentage improve over 26 points her first year in Columbia, while leading the SEC in double plays. Offensively, the Gamecocks improved in every statistical category during her tenure, including raising the team batting average 51 points in her first year.
Prior to South Carolina, Breneman spent six seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina for head coach Donna Papa. She helped the Tar Heels post five 40-plus win seasons and advance to the NCAA Tournament every season. She was an integral part of the program that was ranked in the Top 25 in four of her six seasons in Chapel Hill.
Under her guidance, the North Carolina defense led the Atlantic Coast Conference in fielding each year and finished in the top 33 in NCAA Division I all six seasons. Offensively, the Tar Heels ranked in the top 100 in NCAA Division I in home runs per at-bat her final three seasons and she helped Danielle Spaulding become a three-time All-America recipient. During her tenure, eight different student-athletes received 14 All-ACC selections.
Breneman came to UNC after two head coaching stints over a nine-year period at Bucknell (2001-04) and East Stroudsburg (1996-2000). During her run at Bucknell, the Bison made the Patriot League Tournament in 2004, when she was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year. She served five seasons as the head coach at Division II East Stroudsburg and helped the Warriors post their first winning season in four years with a 21-18 record in her rookie campaign.
Breneman was also a standout on the field, playing two years in the Women’s Pro Softball League for the Georgia Pride and was a four-year letterwinner at Bloomsburg University. She was the starting shortstop during her career and earned All-America honors as a senior. A three-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection, she still holds the Huskies’ career record with 351 assists. She helped Bloomsburg to the NCAA Division II Championships all four years, finishing second in the nation in 1991 and third in both 1990 and 1992.
Breneman earned a bachelor’s degree in adult health and cardiac rehabilitation from Bloomsburg in 1993. She was inducted into the Bloomsburg Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Ephrata High School Hall of Fame in 2001.