University of Tennessee women's athletics director Joan Cronan announced the hiring of Karen and Ralph Weekly as co-head softball coaches Tuesday. They will become the second head coaches since the Lady Vol soft
ball program was established in 1995.
They bring tremendous coaching experience, national exposure and added credibility to our program, Cronan said. They have a passion for the sport of softball and a love for the state of Tennessee that will be an asset as they attempt to turn things around. This combination should help take our program to the next level in collegiate softball.
The Weeklys arrive in Knoxville after shaping the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's softball program into one of the top programs in the South since their arrival in 1995. The duo piloted the Lady Mocs to consecutive NCAA appearances in 2000 and 2001, the only two automatic NCAA Regional berths ever offered to the Southern Conference champion. This past season, UTC posted an overall record of 49-18, including a 4-1 mark against Southeastern Conference programs.
The Weeklys inherit a Lady Vol squad that finished 24-35 overall and 9-20 in league play, missing the SEC tournament for a second straight campaign.
We are very excited to join the outstanding Lady Volunteer athletics
program. Through the years, we have been contacted about other positions, but Tennessee's softball coaching position is the only one that would cause us to leave Chattanooga, said the Weeklys. Ralph Weekly has served as director of the USA Softball National Team since 1999 and was a member of the coaching staff that piloted the U.S. team to back-to-back gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He has also been on the staff for several other international teams that captured gold medals or claimed world championships. Weekly was the head coach of the U.S. National Team that won the Pan-American Games qualifier in 1995.
Previously, Weekly was the head coach at Pacific Lutheran from 1986-94, where he compiled a 310-93 (.769) record and became one of the most successful coaches in NAIA history. His PLU teams made eight trips to the NAIA Tournament, returning with national championships in 1988 and 1992, and a second-place finish in 1990.
While he was on a leave of absence from Chattanooga to handle his Olympic duties, the Lady Mocs' program continued to make steady improvement under Karen Weekly's tutelage.
In her initial season as head coach in 1999, UTC led the Southern Conference with a .
303 batting average and a 1.47 earned run average en route to 48-18 record to go along with the league's regular and postseason crowns. In 2000, the Lady Mocs were 47-27 and earned the school's first NCAA Regional berth by winning three straight games after a defeat to take the tourney and win the automatic bid.