The 10th-winningest active coach in NAIA history, Ralph Cole enters his 23rd season as Shawnee State Head Softball Coach Shawnee State in 2014. In his first 22 seasons at the helm of the softball program, Cole has compiled a career record of 599-293-2, a .671 winning percentage. Coach Cole is a nine-time recipient of conference Coach of the Year honors. The most recent honor came during the 2012 season 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 fourth season as assistant softball coach in 2014. 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 aspect of the program 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.
Rob Appell enters his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Shawnee State softball program in 2014. In addition to serving as an assistant coach with the softball team, Appell is also in his eighth season as the head coach of the women’s soccer team and second season as the head coach of the women’s tennis program.
With his various coaching positions at Shawnee State, Appell is the only coach in the Mid-South Conference to serve as a head coach of two distinct varsity sports programs. With the softball program, Appell assists in creating the schedule and coordinating travel arrangements along with his coaching duties.
Prior to become a coach at Shawnee State, Appell was a goalkeeper for the men’s soccer team at Shawnee State from 2000-03. He accumulated a school record 459 saves over the course of his career. During the 2001 season, Appell made 209 saves in goal for the Bears. At the time, that mark ranked second in the NAIA for a single-season total. Today, it stands as the third-most saves in a single season in NAIA history. He also earned All-AMC recognition and was the Shawnee State University Branch Rickey student award recipient as a senior in 2003.
A native of Blacklick, Ohio, Appell is a 2004 graduate of Shawnee State University where he earned his bachelor's degree in Sports Management. Appell also works in the sports studies department as an adjunct instructor. He currently resides in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Victoria Book graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1989. She played softball in Portsmouth Little League, Senior League and Women’s Fast Pitch softball as a third baseman and catcher. For one year, she played under Head Coach Ralph Cole in the Senior League.
Book is also a third degree black belt in karate and has a sensei title. She was a member of the United States Karate Team from 1985–1994 and traveled to numerous countries such as Japan, Costa Rica, and Mexico. In 1989, she went to Fukuoka, Japan and won the Gold medal in Kumite and the Silver medal in Kata for the United States Team. In Mexico City at the Olympic Festivals, she brought home the Gold medal in Kumite and the Silver medal in Kata for the United States Team. In Costa Rica in 1992 at the Pan-American Games she won the gold medal in Kumite again for the United States. Throughout her Karate career, she held first and second place seat in Kumite at the United States Nationals.
Book currently attends Shawnee State University and is finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science. This is her first year coaching with the Shawnee State Women’s Softball team and it has been a dream of hers to coach at the college level.
Book has a sixteen-year old daughter whom she resides with in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Codee Arthur is entering his first year as the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Shawnee State softball team. In this role, Arthur is responsible for coordinating weightlifting sessions and implementing morning conditioning workouts for the team.
Arthur is currently a senior Sport Management major at Shawnee State University. In addition to holding various roles as a game management assistant and assistant intramural director at SSU, he is also employed at the New Carlisle Sports & Fitness Club where he works as a recreational coordinator. As a part of this position, Arthur is a certified fitness instructor. After graduating from Shawnee State this coming spring, Arthur plans to pursue a career an Athletic Event Management.
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