Catching up with Abby Hurley-Martin

Catching up with Abby Hurley-Martin

Meet Rochester’s new softball coach–a seasoned leader with a history of softball success

Abby Hurley-Martin standing and leaning against a baseball bat in her hand

Abby Hurley-Martin

In July 2023, Abby Hurley-Martin took the reins as the head coach of the University of Rochester’s softball program, bringing four years of coaching experience from Trinity University in Texas and another four from Oswego State. Her arrival closely follows the team’s record-breaking 38 wins in 2023, setting the stage for continued success.

“Abby’s experience has prepared her to lead one of the most successful teams in the country,” says George VanderZwaag, executive director of Athletics. “Her leadership style will add strength to our program, and we are excited to welcome her to Rochester.”

Hurley-Martin’s love of sport began in her youth, having played three sports before focusing on softball. Elevated to the junior varsity team in eighth grade, she discovered her knack for pitching. When college beckoned, Monmouth University on the Jersey Shore became her playing ground, where she earned a full scholarship and played Division 1 softball for three years. Hurley-Martin then transferred to SUNY Cortland for her senior year, earning a bachelor’s in kinesiology and exercise science and a master’s in sports management.

Softball remained a constant throughout, guided by her mentor and coach, Hall of Famer Julie Lenhart. Winning championships and competing at a national level fueled her coaching ambitions as well. Coaching provided her with the opportunity to combine all of her interests and skills in a career dedicated to helping young people be the best they could be, both in and out of the classroom.

Drawn to Rochester for its strong reputation and proximity to her hometown of Oswego, Hurley-Martin is gearing up for the spring season, building on the dedication she observed during the team’s 24 fall ball training games. The official schedule kicks off in early March with eight games in Kissimmee, Florida, followed by a weekend of games at the University of Salisbury in Maryland later in the month.

“Everything I’ve seen makes it clear that we have exceptional women and an outstanding team,” she says. “They have so much going for them: speed, skill, great pitching, and great hitting. Most importantly, they have the right attitude and a fantastic commitment to the sport, to their studies, and to each other. They have a fire inside them, which excites me as a coach. They are really well-positioned for another banner year.”

Beyond softball: Life lessons and leadership

Hurley-Martin extends her coaching impact beyond the diamond, incorporating activities like journals and a book club into her team’s schedule. Two of her favorite books to delve into with her players are Steven Magness’s 2022 book, Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness, and Jon Gordon’s 2007 book, Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Her coaching—and her life—philosophy is built around boosting performance, self-confidence, leadership, teamwork, and, ultimately, motivating people to be the best versions of themselves.

Get in the game

Find out how you can support softball, Rochester’s new Women in Sports—WinS—initiative, and the overall Department of Athletics and Recreation. Contact Terry Gurnett, Associate Director of Athletics, to learn how you can make a difference for our students and athletes.

— Kristine Kappel Thompson, Winter 2024