The 10th-winningest active coach in NAIA history, Ralph Cole enters his 22nd season as a coach at Shawnee State in 2012. In his first 21 seasons at the helm of the softball program, Cole has compiled a career record of 566-283-1, a .631 winning percentage. Coach Cole is a nine-time recipient of conference Coach of the Year honors. The most recent honor came during this past season when he was named MSC Co-Coach of the Year. Cole was inducted to the Shawnee State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
One of the most memorable seasons for Shawnee State Softball came during the 1996 season when Cole guided his team to the 1996 NAIA National finals. During that season, the Bears ran off 42 consecutive victories, spanning from March 20 through May 17. Up until the 2012 season, that streak ranked as the longest winning streak in the country. It now sits second in the record book. To get to the finals of the national championship, Cole guided the Bears to victories over No. 1 Oklahoma City and No. 2 Hawaii Pacific in back-to-back games.
The Bears finished the 1996 season with a 44-4 record, the fifth-best single season winning percentage (.917 winning percentage) in NAIA history. The Bears also earned a third national distinction that season as they went 90 games without being shutout from March 19, 1996 through May 8, 1997. That is the second-longest streak in NAIA history.
Under his guidance, the Bears have qualified for the NAIA Tournament in six different seasons. During his coaching career, Cole has coached 13 players to NAIA All-America honors, 10 of which were first-team selections. Included in this list is four-time NAIA first-team All-American and 1997 NAIA Player of the Year Kim White. Under Cole, White was a four-time Conference Player of the Year. He has also coached three other players to Conference Player of the Year honors.
Inducted as a player into the Shawnee State Athletics Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, Amy McGuire enters her third season as assistant softball coach in 2013. During her playing career, she had a career batting average of .333, a .924 fielding percentage and 121 career assists at shortstop. She also led the Bears to their first NAIA National Tournament appearance. She was a four time All-MOC and four-time All-District Player. McGuire is married and the mother of three boys. Her goal as a coach is to help get Shawnee State back to the nationals and win a National Championship alongside her father, and current head softball coach, Ralph Cole.
Katie Daniel graduated in 2006 from Fairview High School and was valedictorian of her class. She earned six Kentucky High School State Softball records for pitching, including 1,060 career strikeouts. She was 16th Region Pitcher of the Year for three consecutive years, and was selected for the 16th Region All-Area Softball Team all four years she played. From 2007-2010, she attended Shawnee State University. While attending SSU, she was an NAIA Scholar Athlete two years. She was an American Mideast Conference Scholar-Athlete, and a first-team All-AMC selection. Daniel contributed to the SSU Lady Bears Softball 2010 Conference Champions title with a 1.15 ERA in the AMC and a 1.66 ERA overall in her senior season. She now teaches math at East Carter High School and has served as pitching coach for the SSU Softball team since 2010.
Wayne Speas began his involvement with Shawnee State Softball in 2007. His daughter, Ashley, began her four-year career with the Bears that season. Speas began as a volunteer maintaining the softball field. Once his daughter finished her playing career, he became more involved in the coaching side of things by assisting with the outfield and hitting and has never looked back. He has six children. Speas and his wife, Betty, reside in West Portsmouth.