July 2, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Following another outstanding campaign in which they led the Tennessee softball team to a program-best 63-8 record, the school’s first Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and a second place national finish at the annual Women’s College World Series, Lady Vol Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, Assistant Coach Marty McDaniel and Volunteer Assistant Coach Stephanie Sayne have picked up National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) South Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors. The Weeklys’ and McDaniel also picked up the award following the 2005 season.
Winners were named in eight different regions throughout the country. Mike Candrea’s staff at the University of Arizona garnered the national award following the program’s eighth NCAA title.
Under the direction of the Big Orange coaching staff, the Lady Vols continued to make history in 2007 as the squad became the first in Southeastern Conference history ever to achieve the No. 1 ranking and held that lofty position for a record 11 straight weeks in the USA Softball poll. Tennessee also became the initial league school to advance to the best-of-three WCWS Championship Series.
Four Lady Vols reaped All-America honors as seniors Monica Abbott and India Chiles were chosen to the first-team, while senior Lindsay Schutzler and junior Tonya Callahan each were tabbed to the second-team. The Lady Vols led the nation in team ERA (0.88), in fielding percentage (.988) and in winning percentage (.887) while rating 10th in batting average (.318). UT also won its first Southeastern Conference regular-season championship by registering a 23-4 record after sweeping archrival Alabama (9-2, 4-0) on the final Sunday of the league slate. Abbott also became the first Lady Vol to win the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year trophy and the Honda Award for Softball. Chiles hit a staggering .544 in league contests to receive the SEC Player of the Year award while Abbott received her third selection as the SEC Pitcher of the Year. Schutzler entered the prestigious 300-200-100 club of just 12 collegiate players in NCAA Division I history to record 300 hits, 200 runs scored and 100 stolen bases in their careers. Schutzler, Chiles and sophomore Lillian Hammond each were chosen as an ESPN the Magazine First-Team Academic All-American, while Schutzler repeated as the ESPN the Magazine University Division Academic All-American of the Year.
Co-Head Coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly reached personal milestones during the 2007 campaign as the duo picked up their 300th career victory at UT (326-101-1). Ralph also won his 800th career contest (827-282-1) and Karen her 500th (549-198-1).