April 7, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - Tennessee co-head softball coach Ralph Weekly earned his 1,100th career coaching victory on Saturday, joining an elite club of NCAA softball coaches.
Weekly became the 14th head coach in NCAA history to achieve 1,100 career wins with No. 5 Tennessee's 9-2 victory over Georgia. He ranks eighth among active coaches in career victories.
"I'm proud to have been on the field with Ralph for many of his 1,100 wins," Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "His success stems from a commitment to fundamentals, a tremendous work ethic and a relentless pursuit of excellence. I have learned may valuable lessons which I apply to my coaching career every day."
Weekly has 599 wins at Tennessee, 191 at Chattanooga and 310 at Pacific Lutheran. His career record is 1,100-363-2 and his career winning percentage is .752.
The 2013 season has marked a number of milestones for Ralph Weekly, Karen Weekly and the Tennessee softball program. On Feb. 7, the team achieved its 800th program win with an 18-3, five-inning rout of Southern Utah at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. With Tennessee's 7-0 victory over Long Beach State on Feb. 21, Karen Weekly notched her 800th career win as a head coach, becoming just the 58th coach in NCAA softball history to reach 800 wins and one of just 34 active coaches in the nation with 800 or more victories.
"I think it's awesome," junior shortstop Madison Shipman said. "To win 1,100 games is crazy to think about. We didn't realize it until we saw the tweets afterwards. It's really cool for Ralph and we are all very proud to have been a part of number 1,100."
In their 12th season at Tennessee, Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly have molded the Lady Vol softball program into a national powerhouse. Under their direction, UT has made five appearances (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012) in the Women's College World Series over the last eight years, won two SEC Tournament Championships and the 2007 SEC Regular Season Championship, produced 25 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America selections, 39 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region nods and 46 All-SEC or All-SEC Freshman picks. The Weeklys have led UT to the final four (national semifinals) of the Women's College World Series four times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) and the Lady Vols were the National Runner-Up in 2007. The Tennessee coaching staff was named the NFCA Southeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2010 and 2012. The Weeklys were also named SEC Co-Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2007.
"Being a part of this major milestone for Ralph is very special to the team," senior second baseman Lauren Gibson said. "I'm proud to have been a part of many of those wins these last four years and I look forward to continuing to add to the success we've shared here at UT."
As the co-head coach at Chattanooga from 1995-98 and 2001, Ralph Weekly enjoyed great success, winning 191 games with the Lady Mocs while making Chattanooga one of the top programs in the South. He won Southern Conference regular season titles in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 and captured SoCon Tournament crowns 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2001. Ralph Weekly was named SoCon Coach of the Year 1998 and 2001.
Ralph Weekly began his head coaching career at Pacific Lutheran, where he amassed 310 wins from 1986-94. He led the Lutes to three NAIA national title games and won the NAIA National Championship in 1988 and 1992. PLU was the NAIA National Runner-Up in 1990. Ralph Weekly was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1992 and earned NAIA West Region Coach of the Year honors from 1986-90 and 1992-94.
Ralph Weekly has also played a major role with USA Softball, serving as a coach and Women's National Teams Director and leading the Red, White and Blue to 13 gold medals, including Olympic gold in 1996 and 2000.