Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly is one of three individuals to be inducted to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 7 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
Weekly, along with her husband, co-head coach Ralph Weekly, a 2011 NFCA Hall of Fame Inductee, has guided the Lady Vols to seven appearances in the Women's College World Series, including national runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2013.
"I am incredibly humbled," Karen Weekly said. "It hasn't sunk in, and I don't know if it ever will."
Having served as co-head coach of the Tennessee program since 2002, Karen Weekly has compiled an impressive record of 850-259-2 (.765) despite competing in the nation's strongest softball conference (all 13 SEC teams made the 2018 NCAA Tournament field). The Lady Vols have averaged more than 46 wins per season over the last five years.
During her tenure, Tennessee has captured 10 NCAA Regional championships, seven NCAA Super Regional championships, SEC Tournament championships in 2006 and 2011, the 2007 SEC Regular Season Championship and SEC Eastern Division titles in 2004, 2007 and 2012.
Weekly is a member of the 1,000-win club and ranks 12th among active Division I coaches with 1,073 career wins. She also was an assistant coach on the U.S. Women's Senior National Team that won gold medals in the Mayor's Cup and the Pan American games in 2013.
"I have so much respect and admiration for the coaches in our Hall of Fame and the trails they blazed in fastpitch softball," Karen Weekly said. "To hear my name called to join that special group is an indescribable honor."
Among the myriad of coaching honors collected by Weekly are awards recognizing her Tennessee staff as the 2005 and 2007 Speedline South Region Coaching Staff of the Year. The staff has been a three-time recipient of the NFCA Southeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award. Karen Weekly was also named SEC Co-Coach of the Year after guiding the Lady Vols to an Eastern Division Championship in 2004 and 2007.
She has produced 76 All-SEC or SEC All-Freshman selections, 35 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America honorees, five SEC Players of the Year, four SEC Freshmen of the Year, three SEC Pitchers of the Year and 64 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region selections.
Under the Weeklys' leadership, Tennessee was the first SEC team to reach No. 1 in the polls and reach the WCWS Championship Series (both in 2007). They have recruited and developed many of the greatest players in program history, such as 2007 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Monica Abbott, Madison Shipman, Lauren Gibson, Tonya Callahan, Raven Chavanne, Lindsay Schutzler, Kristi Durant, Sarah Fekete, India Chiles, Kat Dotson, Ellen Renfroe, Tiffany Huff, Rainey Gaffin, Meghan Gregg and Aubrey Leach, to name a few.
Abbott and Shipman each were named the prestigious Honda Sports Award winner for Softball in 2007 and 2017, respectively.
Academic highlights during Karen Weekly's Tennessee tenure include a remarkable 22 CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American selections. The program also produced back-to-back Capital One Academic All-Americans of the Year for Division I Softball when Chavanne and Renfroe won the award in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The Lady Vols also have posted a team GPA of at least a 3.0 in 25 of the last 26 semesters. In the Spring of 2018, the program posted its highest semester GPA in history with a 3.58—marking consecutive semesters with a team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Joining Karen Weekly in the 2018 Induction Class is Salisbury University head coach Margie Knight and North Davidson High School head coach Mike Lambros (posthumously).