KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee co-head softball coaches Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly and volunteer assistant coach Marc Weekly are set to be inducted into the Pacific Lutheran University Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday in Tacoma, Wash.
The Weeklys and PLU’s 1988 and 1992 softball NAIA National Championship teams comprise the 22nd hall of fame class and will be honored during a luncheon at the Loren and MaryAnn Anderson University Center’s Chris Knutzen Hall.
Ralph Weekly was Pacific Lutheran’s head softball coach from 1986-94, leading both of those NAIA National Championship squads and compiling a 310-93 coaching record over his nine seasons. He also served as a football assistant coach in each of his nine years at PLU. Karen Weekly (formerly Karen Kvale) was a two-sport star for PLU from 1984-87 and became the softball program’s first All-American in 1987. She also played basketball for three seasons. Marc Weekly was an All-American quarterback for the PLU football team and led the Lutes to two NAIA National Championship games, including the 1993 national title.
“It is a special honor to be inducted into the PLU Hall of Fame,” Ralph said. “PLU was where I began my college coaching career under the legendary Frosty Westering. It is especially neat to be inducted with Marc and Karen in the presence of our 1988 and 1992 national championship teams who are also being recognized for their accomplishments. Those football and softball players that I had the privilege of coaching at PLU are the reason I am receiving this honor.”
During Ralph’s tenure leading the PLU softball program, the Lutes emerged as an NAIA national powerhouse with a .769 winning percentage from 1986-94. PLU enjoyed three appearances in the national title game, winning in 1988 and 1992 and finishing as the national runner-up in 1990. Ralph was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1992 and NAIA West Region Coach of the Year from 1986-90 and 1992-94. He was also named National Softball Coaches Association Small College Coach of the Year in 1993.
The Lutes won eight conference and district titles and made eight NAIA national tournament appearances under Ralph’s direction. He coached 10 first-team All-Americans, five second-team or honorable mention All-Americans and 24 first-team all-district honorees at PLU.
As a result of winning the 1992 national championship, Ralph was selected to the first-ever Olympic coaching pool in 1993 and went on to serve as an assistant coach for U.S. Olympic teams that earned to gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2000 Sydney Games.
Karen was a model scholar-athlete at PLU, excelling on the field and in the classroom. She was the Female Athlete of the Year and a second-team All-American as a senior in 1987, leading all NAIA hitters with a .440 batting average and helping the Lutes to an NAIA national tournament appearance. As a junior shortstop in 1986, she led the team to its first trip to the NAIA national tournament, batting .424 with 30 RBI.
“It's a tremendous honor to be inducted into PLU's Hall of Fame,” Karen said. “I grew up a Lute fan attending Luther League days with my church youth group and was privileged to attend school there and participate on the basketball and softball teams. Many of the people I met at PLU influenced me both personally and professionally and I cherish the years I spent on campus. Being inducted with Ralph and Marc makes it even more special and I feel very blessed that the committee chose to recognize us together.”
All four of Karen’s softball teams produced winning seasons. Although she played during a softball era when significantly fewer games were played, Karen still holds the PLU single-season record with 19 sacrifice hits. Her 46 doubles, 45 sacrifice hits, 331 assists and 11 errors (fewest) are also program career records that stand to this day.
Karen had a 3.8 GPA and was named an NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete in 1986 and 1987. In 1985 and 1986, she received the prestigious Pacific Lutheran University Undergraduate Fellow/Division of Social Sciences Award. She graduated magna cum laude in 1987 with a bachelor’s in history and political science. Karen joined the PLU softball coaching staff as the top assistant following her playing career and helped lead the Lutes to their national championships in 1988 and 1992 and runner-up finish in 1990. She also earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Washington’s School of Law in 1990 while still serving as an assistant coach at PLU.
Karen also played basketball in three of her years at Pacific Lutheran, scoring 744 points in 87 games. She ranks 10th in PLU history in both field goals attempted and field goal percentage.
Marc had an outstanding football career at Pacific Lutheran from 1990-93. The Lutes went 41-6-1 over those four seasons. A four-year starting quarterback, Marc led PLU to the NAIA Division II National Championship game in 1991 and 1993. In the 1993 title game, he threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to lead PLU to a 50-20 victory over Westminster (Pa.). He was named the MVP in each game of PLU’s 1993 playoff run.
“I feel blessed to have been selected to the Hall of Fame,” Marc said. “It’s even more special to me that I get to go in with my dad and Karen, who have been pivotal in my life, especially in the coaching arena. As far as just my part of it with the football, it’s good to go back and see so many great friends. We truly had a team of spectacular talent. It was a long, long time ago, but I can remember the guys just like it was yesterday’s practice. You had guys like Chad Barnett, Aaron Tang, Gavin Stanley, our offensive line and our offensive coordinator Scott Westering. It was a very good team. Like anything, the quarterback gets the praise or the blame when you don’t play well. Fortunately for us, we played well most of the time. I’m lucky to accept the honor, but I accept it in a team atmosphere.”
Marc established 11 NAIA Division II regular-season records during his career. He continues to hold NAIA Division II records for most touchdowns responsible for in a season (57, 1993), highest percentage of touchdowns passes in a season with a minimum of 300 attempts (13.2 – 46 of 348 passes) and most touchdowns responsible for in a career (143).
He remains PLU’s single season and career leader in total offense (4,065 yards in 1993; 10,977 yards from 1990-93), passing yards (3,722 yards in 1993; 9,737 from 1990-93) and touchdown passes (46 in 1993; 115 from 1990-93).
Following his Pacific Lutheran football career, Marc was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League (CFL).