2017 NFCA Hall Of Fame Inducts Gary Haning; Class Of 2018 Announced

LAS VEGAS — Sheilah Gulas (Ashland University), Gary Haning (OC Batbusters), Vickee Kazee-Hollifield (Carson-Newman University), and Karen Mullins (University of Connecticut) were inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame on Friday evening in Paris Las Vegas' Champagne Ballroom. At the NFCA Convention's marquee event, the quartet of coaches enter as the association's 27th hall of fame class. The induction of Gulas, Haning, Kazee-Hollifield and Mullins brings the hall's membership to 77. 

At the conclusion of the event, NFCA First Vice President Lisa Navas (University of South Carolina) announced the Class of 2018: Salisbury University head coach Margie Knight, North Davidson High School head coach Mike Lambros (posthumously), and University Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly. The banquet and induction ceremony will be held, Friday, December 7, 2018 in Chicago.

Gulas, who retired after the 2017 season, enjoyed a 31-year career as a collegiate head coach, the last 21 years as the Eagles’ skipper. Compiling 30 wins in her final season, she surpassed 900 career victories and won nearly 66 percent of her games with a 929-487-1 record. In her final 21 seasons guiding the Eagles, Gulas collected 723 wins. Additionally, she served as Ashland’s Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator during her final two years at Ashland.

She compiled a winning record in all 21 of her seasons at Ashland, leading the Eagles to 12 NCAA Division II tournaments and collecting five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) titles, and three conference coach of the year awards. In 1998, Gulas guided Ashland to a school-record 53 wins and a No. 3 national ranking. The Eagles collected 40 wins five times during her tenure.

Prior to her stint with Ashland, Gulas made stops as the head coach at Wittenberg (1991-96) and Allegheny (1987-90). In her first head coaching position at Allegheny, she posted a 123-38 mark, guiding the Gators to a national runner-up finish in 1988 and fifth in the country in 1987, 1989 and 1990. Gulas was named the NCAA Division III national coach of the year in 1988 and 1989, and was the regional coach of the year from 1987-89.

Haning is the first Travel Ball member to be inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame. He helped build the Batbusters into one of the most well-known and successful travel ball organizations in the nation, with more than 30 national championships. His team rosters have been a Who’s Who of the top names in softball. 




Under Haning's guidance, four-time All-American and four-time Olympic medalist Laura Berg and her twin sister Randi delivered the Batbusters’ first 18-and-under national title in 1992 on a loaded team that also featured former UCLA standouts Nicole Odom Reis (Reese) and Leah Poulson, former Arizona stars Leah Braatz and Andrea Doty, and Cal-Berkeley star Gillian Boxx. Fellow Olympic star and Women’s College World Series champion Jennie Finch won a 1997 national crown and had a 1998 runner-up finish with the Batbusters, along with teammate Toni Mascarenas. 

Haning also co-founded the hugely successful Premier Girls Fastpitch with Dan Hay.

Kazee-Hollifield has led Carson-Newman to 25 South Atlantic Conference (SAC) crowns, 13 NCAA berths — including seven straight from 2004-11 — and a 2009 Super Regional appearance.

Already a member of the Carson-Newman and SAC Halls of Fame, Vickee has been the Eagles’ only coach, collecting 1,135 career victories over her 32 seasons. Her wins rank sixth and 22nd among Division II and four-year college head coaches, respectively. Kazee-Hollifield's .738 winning percentage ranks inside the top 10 of the Division II coaching annals.

Kazee-Hollifield, the winningest coach in Carson-Newman history, has taken the program she started and has yet to see them suffer a losing season. In 1986, she guided the first-year program to a 21-10 mark and has never looked back, winning over 38 games a year from 1988-92, and grabbing the first two conference titles.       

In addition to her softball prowess, Kazee-Hollifield was a standout basketball player, leading the state of Tennessee in scoring her senior year of high school and later earning selection to the Carson-Newman “Team of the Century” in 1995. She still ranks among the school’s statistical leaders. Kazee-Hollifield is a former head volleyball coach at Carson-Newman, compiling a 59-21 record over three seasons, and an assistant for the basketball program, before concentrating solely on the softball program and serving as the school’s senior woman administrator.    

Mullins, who retired in 2014, won 862 games over 31 seasons leading her alma mater UConn. On her watch, the Huskies went to eight NCAA tournaments, and advanced to the Women’s College World Series in 1993, when the Huskies won a school-record 45 games and finished a run of five straight NCAA appearances from 1989-93. UConn also qualified in 1995, 1996 and 2001.

During her tenure, UConn advanced four times to the NCAA regional championship game, winning the NCAA regional title in 1993 en route to its berth in the Women’s College World Series. In a five-year span from 1989-93, Mullin’s Huskies were one of only nine Division I softball programs to qualify for each of the five NCAA tournaments. 

UConn captured seven Big East tournament titles and four regular-season crowns, while collecting 235 league wins.

Mullins is a former player for both the Huskies’ softball and basketball teams, as well as a former nationally-recognized Major League Fastpitch Softball infielder and the co-founder of the Single-A Major Waterford (Conn.) Mariners softball team.

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The Southeast region had a very strong showing last season with Birmingham Thunderbolts - Dorsett dominating the competition winning PGF 16U Premier Nationals and Colorado Fireworks. Firecrackers Premier - Sewell, Tampa Mustangs TJ and Tampa Mustangs Walford (now Maguire), Atlanta Vipers - Holbrook were listed among the top 20 in the nation last season.