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Jun. 24—One of the most unique college coaching structures has come to an end.

After 20 successful seasons with Ralph and Karen Weekly serving as co-coaches of Tennessee’s softball program, Ralph announced his retirement Wednesday, which will leave his wife at the helm. Karen recently agreed to a contract extension through June 2025.

“Ralph has given his all for Tennessee for more than two decades, and he certainly elevated the stature of our program in every facet during that span,” Tennessee athletic director Danny White said in a release. “With Karen Weekly continuing to lead our program, we are uniquely positioned to maintain the winning tradition that she and Ralph have worked so long to establish.”

In a career that started at Pacific Lutheran in 1986, continued at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and concluded with the Lady Volunteers, Ralph Weekly amassed a 1,450-481-2 record. His career victories rank fourth among all NCAA softball coaches.

Tennessee has reached the NCAA tournament every year since 2004, with the 2007 Lady Vols becoming the first Southeastern Conference team ever to reach the Women’s College World Series best-of-three championship series.

“Ralph has been a big influence in the sport of softball for so long,” former Lady Vols pitcher Monica Abbott said. “He was a big proponent of softball getting into the Olympic games with the 1996 team. He believed in a future that not a lot of people always saw, and he fought for it.”

The 949 wins the Weeklys racked up with the Lady Vols trails only the 1,098 compiled by legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt in Tennessee athletic annals.

“I have had a fulfilling life as a father, husband, student, soldier, special agent, teacher and coach,” Weekly said. “In every endeavor, I have been surrounded by amazing people whose talents allowed me to succeed and made me a better person.”

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.