Coach Weekly started by saying her husband has retired and has an advisory position with the softball team. That retirement made her the sole head coach. They worked as coaches of the softball team for 20 years at the University of Tennessee. She recognized Greg Fain for his work with the program. She has had some great pitchers such as Monica Abbott, and shared stories about some epic games with those pitchers. They had hoped to return to the world series last year, but it didn’t happen. Softball pitchers may throw on consecutive days. They had injury issues with Ashley Rodgers and the depth was not good enough to make it through regionals. Coach says she never wants to be in that position again. Recruit Karlyn Pickens, Asheville, has a 70 mph pitch. (Normal is 60-65). A young woman, Payton Gottshall, from Bowling Green has special abilities to throw low, and struck out all but one batter on the team in a scrimmage. Preseason: 2nd in SEC ranking, 12-14th in NCAA. They intend to win the SEC Championship and play for a national championship.

Returners: Ashley Rodgers, in her Covid season. All-American. She has to be managed differently due to her physical issues. Kiki Milloy (dad was an NFL player. Her mom was an All American track star.) Karen thinks she is the best player in the country. She is a center fielder and very hard worker. She mentioned a couple of other players who will be standouts.

Softball is different in that the players are not coming in looking for a professional career. Therefore, they are focused on developing themselves academically. Coach wants them to know they can win and also be top notch academically and build a career based on that work. She has 3 former players to write med school recommendations for right now.

This Sunday is Meet & Greet day with open practice. Gates open at 12:30, scrimmage starts at 1:00. Then the players will be introduced and will walk around the crowd for autographs or pictures. Coach then opened the floor for questions. During the questions, we learned that Danny White is covering summer school for all the players. She also talked about Orange Mountain Designs in The Gallery on Kingston Pike and how much they are promoting Lady Vols athletes. They carry (only) Lady Vols apparel and the like.

There are different NIL collectives to which people can make donations. It is important to make sure that where you are directing your money is an organization that is following rules and doing the right thing.

Scribe: Annette Winston