Sheilah Gulas didn't hear her name being called as a 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Famer on Friday (Dec. 9) night at the 2016 NFCA Convention in New Orleans, La.
All she heard was Ashland, and that was good enough.
"We had the banquet and at the end of the banquet, they were wrapping it up, and the person stood up and said, 'At this point and time, we'd like to introduce the Hall of Fame Class of 2017,' " Gulas said, "and all I remember is 'Ashland," and I don't remember anything else. I don't know if it hit me like a brick, or if the people behind me were cheering so loud that I didn't hear anything else.
"It definitely took my breath away, and I felt really weak when I stood up after they announced the whole thing. It was overwhelming."
Gulas, starting her 21st season as Ashland head's softball coach and her 31st overall as a collegiate head coach, and who also serves as AU's Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator, will go into the NFCA Hall of Fame on Dec. 8, 2017, at the NFCA Convention in Las Vegas, Nev. The other members of the 2017 class are Karen Mullins (Connecticut), Gary Haning (OC Batbusters) and Vickee Kazee-Hollifield.
In New Orleans, Gulas was able to share the honor with the likes of former AU head coach Karen Linder, former Eagle assistant Shonda Stanton, current Ashland assistant Shannon Schaub and former players-turned-coaches Kelli Williams (Heidelberg head coach), Kristen McGaughey (Clarkson head coach) and Emlyn Knerem (Kent State assistant).
"To have them be there to share that…they've all played a major part in my success," Gulas said. "I've been three different places. Players from Allegheny, players from Wittenberg, and people I've coached with over the years…I'm just hearing from so many people, and it all brings back so many memories and specific things about that person."
Gulas needs just one win for 900 in her career (899-464-1, .659), and seven wins for 700 victories at Ashland (693-342-1, .669).
"It's nice that you're one win away from that. Hopefully, we get it early, get it out of the way and continue with the season," she said.
While guiding the Eagles, she has gone 20-for-20 in the way of winning seasons, while coaching six AU Hall of Famers, making 12 NCAA Division II postseason appearances, winning five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships and being named GLIAC Coach of the Year three times (1998, 2009 and 2010).
In Gulas' second season at Ashland, 1998, she led the Eagles to a school-record 53 wins (53-6) and a season-ending ranking of No. 3 in the country. Ashland has won 40 or more games five times under Gulas' tutelage.