LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One of the marquee events everyone looks forward at the NFCA National Convention is the Hall of Fame banquet. Each year, NFCA members are recognized for their accomplishments both on and off the field and contributions to the sport of softball with inductions into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
This year’s event features long-time Salisbury University head coach Margie Knight, the late Mike Lambros, head coach at North Davidson High School (Lexington, N.C.), and current NFCA President Karen Weekly, co-head coach at Tennessee.
The Hall of Fame banquet takes place on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the NFCA Convention’s host hotel, Sheraton Grand Chicago.
Knight, one of the most successful softball coaches in NCAA history, will enter her 23rd season at the helm of the Salisbury program in 2019. She has accounted for an 805-193-2 record and a winning percentage of .806. She is the winningest coach in program history and stands fourth in Division III history in winning percentage and 13th in victories. She is sixth in NCAA history – across all divisions – in winning percentage.
Salisbury has won 19 Capital Athletic Conference championships, been in the NCAA tournament 20 times, and advanced to the NCAA championship on nine occasions in Knight’s tenure. She has been named the CAC’s Coach of the Year 15 times and her coaching staff has garnered 10 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year accolades.
Knight also coached the Salisbury volleyball team from 1997 through 2012, winning eight CAC championships and leading the program to the NCAA tournament eight times including a trip to the NCAA championship weekend in 2012.
Prior to joining the Salisbury coaching ranks, Knight spent 13 years at North Caroline High School (Ridgely, Md.) coaching softball and volleyball where she won state championships in both sports, winning softball titles in 1988 and 1991. She put together a record of 392-77 in the two sports.
A former Sea Gull student-athlete, Knight was inducted into the Salisbury University Athletics Hall of Fame for her play on the softball, basketball, and volleyball teams in 1995.
Lambros, the winningest high school softball coach in North Carolina history, guided North Davidson High School to an 878-110 record over 38 years, including 32 conference championships, eight regional titles and two 4A state crowns. Taking over the slowpitch program in 1980 at the age of 25, Lambros, who is the Association’s first high school inductee, led the Knights to 17 state final fours and seven state runner-up finishes.
Lambros passed away on September 29, 2017, after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Just months earlier in June, Lambros and the Black Knights won the NCHSAA Class 4-A state softball championship, going 29-5 and sweeping a best-of-three series against Cape Fear High School. The team donned jerseys with Lambros’ name on the back. North Davidson won its first state crown in 2010 as the Black Knights recorded a perfect 33-0 mark.
Known for his phrase “Yeah, baby,” Lambros conducted a Yeah Baby Softball Camp which taught softball skills to players age five and up for more than 20 years. He was inducted into the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010, joined the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and was named the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Harvey Reid Male Coach of the Year in 2013.
In 2016, North Davidson named the softball field in his honor. Additionally, that year, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is one of the highest civilian honors given in North Carolina. The award is for exemplary service in the state and its communities in which the person has made a significant impact and strengthened the state.
Weekly is a 22-year collegiate softball head coaching veteran boasting 1,073 career wins. Along with her husband and co-head coach Ralph Weekly, a 2011 inductee, Karen has guided the Lady Vols to seven Women’s College World Series appearances, including national runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2013. Tennessee has captured 10 NCAA Regional championships, seven NCAA Super Regional championships, SEC Tournament championships in 2006 and 2011 and a 2007 SEC regular-season title.
Having served as co-head coach of the Tennessee program since 2002, Weekly has compiled an impressive record of 850-259-2 (.765) despite competing in one of the nation’s strongest softball conferences – all 13 SEC teams made the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Tournament fields. The Lady Vols have averaged more than 47 wins per season over the last six years.
Weekly is a member of the 1,000-win club, reaching the milestone on March 22, 2017, following a 9-2 win over North Carolina. At the time, she was the 33rd head coach in NCAA Division I history to accomplish that feat. She was an assistant on the US Women’s Senior National Team that won gold medals in the Mayor’s Cup and the Pan American games in 2013.
Under Weekly’s leadership, Tennessee was the first SEC team to reach No. 1 in the polls and reach the WCWS Championship Series (both in 2007). Weekly has produced 76 All-SEC or SEC All-Freshman selections, 35 NFCA All-America honorees, five SEC Players of the Year, four SEC Freshmen of the Year, three SEC Pitchers of the Year and 64 NFCA All-Region selections. Academic highlights during her tenure include a remarkable 22 CoSIDA/Google Cloud Academic All-American selections.