State Fair Community College Assistant Softball Coach Michele Rupard will be inducted into the Hairston Hall of Fame at Central Methodist University (CMU) on Jan. 8 as an individual as well as a member of the 2014-2015 softball team.

Rupard helped that team to the program’s fifth straight conference championship, as well as a trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament and NAIA World Series. SFCC Softball Head Coach Lyndsey Talbot was an assistant coach on that team as well.

Rupard was a three-time NAIA All-American and a four-time Heart of America Conference All-Conference player to go along with Conference Freshman of the Year in 2012 and Conference Player of the Year in 2014. Rupard was also a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the biggest honor that you can receive as a student-athlete,” said Rupard. “This recognition helps to solidify your entire career. It is really neat this year, especially with the other members of the class who are going in. Our assistant coach is also going in. The pitcher who I was able to catch for two years is going in as well. The team from my senior year that we went to the World Series with is also being inducted.”

Rupard was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Catcher of the Year in 2014 and earned NFCA All-Region Honors all four seasons. She was named an NFCA All-American in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Rupard also earned the Darla Pannier Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award.

Head Coach Talbot had the opportunity to coach Rupard during their time together at CMU.

“Michele was one of those players that you wanted at the plate with the game on the line,” said Talbot. “She was very even-keeled as a player, like she is now as a coach. We definitely pair well together as coaches. She is very good at pitch calling in dealing with our players. She brings a lot to our coaching staff. I congratulate her on her Hall of Fame induction. It is a huge honor!”

Rupard was a four-year starter at CMU, in right field as a freshman and catcher the following three seasons. She finished in the top 10 in numerous offensive categories in her career. Rupard finished second in career doubles with 49 and second in runs scored with 149. She finished third in career batting average at .390 and seventh in runs batted in with 113. Rupard holds the program record for single-season on-base percentage at .546 in 2014 and most walks in a single season with 45 in 2015. She also was part of four straight regular-season championship teams and three conference tournament championships.

“I was able to catch for an All-American pitcher every year that I caught; I got pretty lucky,” said Rupard. “It helps to be on really good teams. Every team that I played on at CMU is now in the Hall of Fame. You don’t have these opportunities if you don’t play on good teams and for good coaches. I would like to thank all my teammates and coaches who helped me achieve this honor.”

--David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics