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Class of 1994
Cal Poly Pomona: 1978 - 1993
After an illustrious playing career, Carol Spanks spent 21 years in collegiate coaching before retiring in 2000. She was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 1994.
During 15 years at Cal Poly Pomona, she posted a record of 577-310-5 (.650 winning percentage) and led the Broncos to 11 postseason appearances (three in the AIAW and eight in the NCAA). Her teams advanced to the Women's College World Series five times with the 1979 and 1988 squads finishing third in the nation. Nine of her Bronco players were named all-American and 16 were selected first team Big West Conference.
Spanks also has an extensive international coaching career to her credit. Besides being a player/assistant coach at the 1970 world championships, she served as the head coach of the USA team at the 1985 South Pacific Classic in Australia. She was an assistant in the 1995 South Pacific Classic as well. She was the head coach of the Pan American Games in 1987. She was an assistant for the 1987 Tri-Nations and the 1994 world championships. every USA team she was affiliated with as a coach, except for the 1970 event, won the gold medal.
Spanks' playing career lasted more than two decades with the Buena Park Kittens (1951-53), Buena Park Lynx (1953-1957) and the renowned Orange Lionettes (1958-1975). She earned ASA All-America honors in 13 of the 19 ASA national championships in which she was a participant. Ten times she was a first team selection and three times a second team honoree. She starred on four national championship teams (1962, 1965, 1969, 1970).
The Lionettes were members of the Pacific Coast Women's league and 16 times Spanks was named to the league's all-star team. Five times she led the league in hitting with averages of .382 (1954), .400 (1969), .321 (1970), .327 (1971) and .400 (1972), with pitching distances ranging form 38 feet to 40 feet during her career. Three times Spanks batted .400 or higher in national championship play with a .438 average in 1967 and .545 average in 1969. Also in national championship play, Spanks won the Erv Lind award as the outstanding defensive player three times (1968, 1969 and 1970).
After winning the ASA national title in 1969, the Lionettes represented the USA in the second International Softball Federation Women's World Fast Pitch Championship held in 1970 in Osaka, Japan.
After her amateur career, Spanks played one season in the newly formed Women's Professional League (1976) and earned All-League Western Division honors. She was named head coach at Cal Poly Pomona in 1978, and she and former Orange Lionettes' coach Shirley Topley coached the Broncos together for 15 years.
After Cal Poly Pomona dropped its softball program in 1993, Spanks took early retirement from the state of California and after a year away from the game, joined the coaching staff at UNLV as an associate head coach. She held this position for five years before her final retirement in 2000.
Spanks was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame (1981); the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame (1994); and the Pasadena City College Hall of Fame (1997).
A 1958 graduate from UCLA, she spent the first 20 years of her 40-year working life teaching at the high school level in California before beginning her tenure as a collegiate coach.