Tennessee's Weekly heading into hall

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (utsports.com) -- According to an announcement by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) at its convention in San Diego, Calif., Tennessee Lady Vol Co-Head Softball Coach Ralph Weekly has been chosen as one of two inductees for the NFCA Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Weekly will join Ithaca Head Coach Deb Pallozzi in ceremonies to be held late next year at the annual NFCA Convention slated for Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is a very prestigious honor, especially since selection comes from my peers,” Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. “The NFCA Hall of Fame and its 49 previous inclusions represent the best of the best in our profession, and I am humbled to be chosen for membership in this group. This selection would never have been possible without my wife and co-head coach Karen Weekly, assistant coach Marty McDaniel, and the many outstanding coaches and players I have worked with throughout both the collegiate and Olympic ranks. I am especially grateful to everyone in the Tennessee athletic department for providing exceptional support and encouragement.”

In a 23-year career that has spanned portions of three decades and included 966 overall victories, Weekly has been successful at every stop along the way. He guided Pacific Lutheran to a pair of NAIA national championships (1988 & 1992) during a nine-year stint in Tacoma, Wash., and helped build UT-Chattanooga into a Southern Conference force alongside his wife and co-head coach Karen Weekly from 1995-2001, winning four regular season and SoCon Tournament titles.

Since arriving at Rocky Top prior to the 2002 campaign, the Weeklys’ have built the Lady Vol softball program into a national powerhouse. Under the duo’s guidance, Tennessee has won 465 games while registering four top-three finishes at the Women’s College World Series during the last six years (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) and winning both the 2006 Southeastern Conference Tournament and 2007 SEC regular season championships. Along the way UT became the first league school to reach No. 1 in the national rankings, staying in the lofty position for a then-record 11 consecutive weeks back in 2007, and the first SEC squad to qualify for the best-of-three WCWS Championship Series (2007). During the Weeklys’ nine-season stay in Knoxville, Tennessee has reaped 18 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American selections, 30 NFCA All-Region nods, more than 30 combined All-SEC or SEC All-Freshman choices and an impressive 11 ESPN Academic All-Americans.

Weekly has also enjoyed a long and storied career involved with the USA Softball program, including serving as a hitting coach, third-base coach and team leader with the high-profile gold medal-winning 1996 (first-ever Olympic softball competition) and 2000 U.S. Olympic Softball squads. Included are stints as the USA Softball National Teams Director (1999-2001) and previously as a liaison to the ASA National Team Selection Committee responsible for the elite level selection process for Olympic, Pan American Games and other USA Softball National Teams. In December of 2009, Weekly was chosen to the five-member selection committee for the USA Softball Women’s National Team. He will assist in choosing the elite-level athletes that will represent USA Softball in international competition during a three-year appointment that spans from 2010-2012.

Between 1998 and 2001, Weekly worked closely with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to ensure that USA Softball received adequate funding for its programs and was fully equipped with the technical assistance it needed. He was also instrumental in securing the funding for the development of a state-of-the-art practice facility at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The facility has been used by all of the USA Softball National Teams and continues to be an integral part of USA Softball’s success.

Under his direction, USA Softball captured the gold medal at the 1994 Pan American Games qualifier in Guatemala. He was an assistant coach on teams that won additional gold medals at the 1994 World Games in Nova Scotia, the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina, the 1996 South Pacific Classic in Australia, the 1997 Canada Cup, the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, the inaugural 1999 America Cup in San Diego, the 2000 European Championship in Rome, Italy, and the 2001 Hawaii Cup in Honolulu.

As a coach and National Teams Director for USA Softball, Weekly has appeared in 13 international tournaments, winning a gold medal each time. His international coaching record is a sterling 130-15 (.897). He has served on a pair of Olympic gold medal-winning coaching staffs and has claimed two national championships as a head coach (Pacific Lutheran, NAIA National Softball Champions, 1988 & 1992). He also directed all facets of the USA Men’s National Team from 1999-2001.

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