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.

Pitcher Lacie Ham Hospitalized After Being Struck By A Line Drive

OC Batbuster Campbell pitcher/first baseman Lacie Ham was rushed to the hospital on Sunday after she was struck by a line drive to the temple. She was diagnosed with a skull fracture in the ICU and seems to be recovering well. 

New NCAA Transfer Rule Waives Permission-To-Contact Process

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Good news for college players who want to transfer. NCAA Division I student-athletes will now have the ability to transfer without granted permission from their current schools, effective October 15, 2018. 

FloSoftball Accepting FAB 50 Club Teams Nominations

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We are currently updating the FAB 50 club rankings and want to hear from you about the top teams in the country!

Eugene Lenti Retires After 37 Seasons As DePaul Softball Coach

DePaul Athletics

After a nearly 40-year run at DePaul, Eugene Lenti has retired as the Blue Demons' head softball coach.

This Week's Verbal Commitments & Team Changes (6/14)

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We are still catching up on many verbals that were made before the early contact date was changed. This week alone we've added more than 70 commits, along with some team changes.

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USSSA Pride To Host NPF’s First-Ever LGBT Pride Night

USSSA Pride

As we kick off June’s LGBT Month, the USSSA Pride announced they will host professional softball’s first-ever LGBT Pride Night on June 20 to celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

The Ugly Side Of Early Specialization

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By Kaila Holtz @kailaholtz

Amanda Lorenz Joins USA WNT At Japan All-Star Series

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OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball announced today that Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.) will be joining the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) at the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.  Lorenz, an outfielder who will be entering her senior season at the University of Florida, returns to the USA Softball WNT program with previous experience, having played on the 2016 Women's Elite Team.Lorenz, along with the Japan All-Star Series roster, will go through training camp and exhibition games this week at the Scrap Yard Complex before setting their sights on the Japan All-Star Series June 20-23, 2018 where they will face the Japan National Team in a three-game series.Led by Head Coach Laura Berg (Corvallis, Ore./Head Coach at Oregon State), Patty Gasso (Torrance, Calif./Head Coach at Oklahoma), Melyssa Lombardi (Glendale, Ariz./Associate Head Coach at Oklahoma) and two-time Olympian Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif./Director of Operations at CSUN) will serve as Assistant Coaches for the 2018 USA Softball Japan All-Star Series roster.

FloSoftball Partners With AthPro360 To Launch FloShowdown ID Camps

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FloSoftball, the innovator in live and original softball content, today announced an exclusive partnership with AthPro360 to launch the FloShowdown ID camps for 14U to 18U and JUCO players. AthPro360 is the world’s most comprehensive and technologically advanced collegiate athletic recruiting and player development platform. 

Rutgers Named Kristen Butler Head Softball Coach

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 8, 2018) – Rutgers Athletics has announced the hiring of Kristen Butler as the next head coach of the Scarlet Knights' softball program. A former SEC Player of the Year and record-setting professional softball player in the United States and Japan, Butler has spent the last four seasons turning around the program as head coach at Toledo while earning the 2018 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honor.