Regan Weekly has always been tied to her softball lineage.
As an 8-year-old, she slapped a single and a mother supporting the opposing team yelled out that it wasn’t allowed, no matter who her family was.
Such is life as the granddaughter of Tennessee softball co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, a coaching duo that has amassed 1,489 wins during their collegiate coaching careers.
Everybody knows who she is and thinks she is entitled because of it, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
“From that day on, we’ve kind of laughed because people have always associated Regan with Tennessee softball, Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly, but she’s always wanted to do her own thing,” Regan’s father and The King’s Academy softball coach Marc Weekly told The Daily Times. “She wants to go rule the world and she has plans for it. She knows what she wants and she’s very dedicated and determined.”
As long as she plays softball — and potentially beyond that — Regan will always be connected to Tennessee softball, but as the years have passed since that moment in Crossville over a decade ago, she has carved her own path.
She batted .566 this season with 41 extra-base hits — 21 of which were home runs — and 70 RBI en route to being named The Daily Times Softball Player of the Year. She also won Gatorade Tennessee Softball Player of the Year and was one of 15 players named to the MaxPreps midseason national player of the year watch list.
The bevy of accolades cap what was a prolific five-year career at The King’s Academy, which includes four TSWA All-State honors — and a fifth incoming — and three Division II-A state championships (2016, 2017 and 2019).
Same last name or not, all of that guaranteed Regan a spot on the Lady Vols’ roster. Instead, she opted to sign with Dartmouth, where she will become the first Weekly to attend an Ivy League school.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to go to UT, because I love it there,” Regan said. “I grew up around the Lady Vols and I always wanted to be a Lady Vol until about eighth grade when I realized that I could be great player and it didn’t have to be at UT.
“I think that helped me understand myself more and helped me understand my path over the next four years and what I want for me.”
Regan’s individuality sprouted when she began participating in exposure tournaments and playing at the high school level. College coaches flocked to watch, and she quickly realized she had options outside of Knoxville.
Over the next five years, she leaned on her family to help her improve and maximize those choices.
Ralph once told Regan she didn’t move well enough laterally to play in the SEC, and an offseason filled with speed and agility training followed. That helped her become a top-notch second baseman, which led to her posting a .967 fielding percentage this season.
There were also nights spent at Tennessee’s facility before The King’s Academy got batting cages, getting swing advice from two coaches who have coached 13 positional All-Americans.
However, nothing was more important than the support. Ralph and Karen never pushed Regan toward Tennessee and Marc perfected the balance between father and head coach.
“The pressure comes from outside, it doesn’t come from within my family, so I never feel any pressure from my grandparents that I have to be great,” Regan said. “Having that support in my inner circle and my family, that has helped me get past all the pressures that come from outside that inner circle.”
Regan has handled the pressure gracefully, and while it won’t disappear when she heads to Dartmouth and attempts to help rebuild a program that won 13 games this season, at least she can say she did it her way.
From here on out, nobody can accuse her of taking advantage of her last name.
“She wants to grow her own brand,” Marc said. “She could definitely play at the SEC level, and she could probably be a very good player, but if she struggles at all, it’s always going to be about ‘Weekly.’ I think she probably wanted to avoid that.”