FAU softball coach meets fans, promotes new biography in Boca bookstore

FAU head softball coach Joan Joyce, a recent FAU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, appeared at the student bookstore for two hours on Wednesday.

FAU+head+coach+and+author+Tony+Renzoni+talk+to+athletes+at+the+campus+bookstore+on+Wednesday.+Photo+courtesy+of+FAU+Softball

FAU head coach and author Tony Renzoni talk to athletes at the campus bookstore on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of FAU Softball

John DeStefano, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic University’s softball coach Joan Joyce was the star of a public meet and greet event at the FAU Boca campus on Wednesday. Fans, friends, and even some faculty descended upon the student bookstore to speak with the local legend and purchase her newly penned biography.

Well-known to local residents as one of the most approachable celebrities around, she spent nearly two hours sharing stories and signing copies of Connecticut Softball Legend Joan Joyce.

The book, authored by fellow Connecticut native Tony Renzoni, chronicles Joyce’s fabled sports career from her humble beginnings in her hometown of Waterbury to her rise to international stardom as a softball player and LPGA tour golfer.

Joyce, 79, is considered by many in the softball community to be one of the best pitchers of all time. With a career earned run average of .09, Joyce hurled her way into the record books while pitching for 22 seasons from 1956 through 1977, where all but three were for the Raybestos Brakettes. A strong hitter as well, she still holds career records for doubles (153), triples (67), consecutive All-Star Team selections (18), and National Tournament MVPs (8).

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The LEGEND at her book signing with author Tony Renzoni. Thank you everyone who came out and supported the one and only.

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Not to be outdone after a storied career on the mound, Joyce earned her LPGA tour card in 1977 and played for 18 seasons. She remains the Guinness World Record holder for fewest putts hit in a professional golf tournament with 17, a feat she accomplished in 1982.

But even in the midst of all her success, fame never went to Joyce’s head.

“You know, people I played with said I was a better basketball player than I ever was a softball pitcher or a golfer,” she told the crowd at the bookstore.

Joyce was also inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame last year.

After she left professional golf, Joyce was signed as FAU’s head softball coach in 1997. Over the next 25 seasons, she guided the Owls to 11 conference championships.

In her time at FAU, Joyce has formed a special bond with many of her players and colleagues.

“I’ve been working with coach Joyce since I’ve been here and she’s just awesome,” said Athletics Director Brian White. “She has great relationships and she’s a very engaging person, even if you meet her for the first time.”

Even with all of the accolades and well-deserved heaps of praise bestowed upon her, Joyce minces no words about what continues to bring her back to the softball fields again and again.

“Competition,” she said. “Even if I was playing you in marbles I’d want to compete in that. Competition.”

John DeStefano is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Johns_voice.