The North Carolina softball team — led by head coach Donna J. Papa — won.
Now say it 1,300 times.
Or, actually, be like Papa and live it that many times. In Wednesday night’s 7-3 victory over Villanova, Papa won her 1300th game at UNC, a milestone that took 37 seasons while maintaining a win percentage well over .500.
The feat is also a reminder that Papa should be forever remembered with the other successful coaches of UNC athletics. She has the longevity of Dean Smith and Anson Dorrance — and although the softball season allows for more chances at victory, Papa is still a top-10 winner ever in the sport.
“It’s really a tribute to all the players that have played here and all my assistant coaches,” Papa said. “It’s never just, you know, ‘me.'”
The players play the game, ultimately, but the players’ success is a reflection of the coach’s leadership.
What Papa's team says about its coach is another indicator of her impact.
Junior outfielder Bri Stubbs said being a part of this milestone was an “honor" and described her time playing under Papa a “great privilege.”
Sophomore infielder Skyler Brooks said Papa’s legacy was palpable — something the players can feel while being in the program.