Patrick Murphy has been very busy since the season ended. In June, the Tide picked up a transfer from Ohio State in infielder Ashley Prange with the likely purpose of playing third base. This week, the longtime Alabama coach made a bigger acquisition in Tennessee catcher, Ally Shipman.
I am so excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at The University of Alabama! Thank you to the coaches and staff at Alabama for this amazing opportunity! Can’t wait to get to work! #RollTide pic.twitter.com/HIusuwqICC— Ally Shipman (@ally_shipman) July 7, 2021
With Bailey Hemphill out of eligibility, the Crimson Tide have only one returning catcher on the roster with any experience in Abby Doerr (30 starts, 5 vs SEC). Shipman has 98 starts under her belt and has committed only five errors in that time. Hemphill had five fielding miscues this season alone.
Shipman’s bat will be a welcome sight in the Tide lineup. She has a career .331 batting average and has increased her power since her freshman campaign. In 2021, she slammed eight home runs and collected 39 RBI. For perspective, Savannah Woodard was third on the 2021 Crimson Tide team in RBI with 26. Shipman’s eight home runs would have tied Kaylee Tow for second.
Being a freshman in 2019, Shipman still has two more seasons of eligibility remaining as a senior and then super-senior.
The move is an unusual one as Ally is sister to former Lady Vols great and current ESPN announcer Madison Shipman. The younger Shipman was thought to be gung-ho “Vol 4 Life” type but something must have gone sour.
Long-time Tennessee softball co-head coach Ralph Weekly announced his retirement in June. His wife, Karen Weekly, has served alongside him for the last 20 years as co-head coach, but let’s get real. It was Ralph making all the big decisions. Karen will assume all head coaching responsibilities after agreeing to a contract extension through the 2025 season.
The Vols also lost their number two pitcher, Callie Turner, who has transferred to Arkansas.
In a roundabout way, the transfer could possibly be the fault of former UT AD Phil Fulmer. Ally is the girlfriend of former Volunteers QB JT Shroud. Shroud was one of the very first recruits to commit to former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt after his hiring in December 2017. After Fulmer scorched the Knoxville earth, Shroud decided it was a good time to leave town and transferred to Colorado. With her boyfriend gone, perhaps Shipman felt a bit disillusioned towards continuing her education at the University. It’s just a theory but if any aspect of it is true, add it to the Fat Phil legacy.