Feb 8, 2013 7:48 PM by UL Sports Information
Michael Lotief, who won 500 games in 10 seasons as co-head coach of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball team and took over as head coach following the departure of his wife Stefni as co-head coach last summer, has resigned his position effectively immediately, Louisiana director of athletics Scott Farmer announced today.
Assistant coach Megan Granger, who played three seasons for the Cajuns from 2010-12, will take over as interim head coach for the 2013 season.
Lotief will continue to work with the team as a volunteer coach, watching video, refining batting mechanics and helping in any way that Coach Granger requests. He will be in the dugout for the games this weekend at Houston.
"On behalf of everyone connected with Louisiana athletics, I would like to thank Michael for all of his efforts over the last 12 years. He has dedicated his life to Ragin' Cajuns softball and its student-athletes and the program has benefited greatly from his efforts.
"I have confidence in Megan's ability to lead the program this season," Farmer said. "Her experience playing in the program the last four years will allow her to teach the system that the team has always used and her familiarity with the players gives her the insight needed to make decisions and work with the squad."
Lotief leaves the Ragin' Cajuns on the eve of the 2013 season with a 500-122 overall record and a 173-36 mark in Sun Belt play. Louisiana, which is ranked 11th in the preseason USA Today/NFCA Division I poll, is scheduled to open the season on Saturday with games against Lipscomb (4:30 p.m.) and Iowa (7:00 p.m.) at the Hilton Plaza Classic in Houston, Texas.
The Cajuns return six starters and eight letterwinners from the team that went 53-6, won the Sun Belt regular season title and advanced to the Super Regional where they faced defending national champion Arizona State and fell one win short of advancing to the Women's College World Series.
A 1985 Louisiana graduate Lotief, and earned his juris doctorate from LSU in 1988. He began his own law practice in Lafayette in 1992 and because of his love for the game of softball, he started coaching fastpitch amateur softball in 1994.
Lotief was instrumental in developing Louisiana's nationally recognized summer-ball softball program - Louisiana Reflections. In five years, his teams won five consecutive state championships, made five National Tournament appearances and won the AFA 18-U National Championship in 2000.
In 2001, his wife Stefni took over as head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns as head coach and he joined the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach.
Two years and 99 wins later, Michael Lotief was elevated to co-head coach.
In his 10 seasons as co-head coach with Stefni, Michael Lotief helped guide the team to nine Sun Belt regular season championships and eight Sun Belt Tournament titles. The Cajuns earned an invitation to play in the NCAA Softball Championships in all 12 seasons that Lotief was with the program. The Cajuns advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round in three of the past five seasons (2008, 2010, 2012) and made Women's College World Series appearances in 2003 and 2008.
For their efforts, the Lotief's teamed to earn Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors seven times.
In his time with the Ragin' Cajuns, the program generated 81 All-Sun Belt Conference athletes including 61 first team selections. Louisiana produced the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year nine times, Pitcher of the Year 10 times and Freshman of the Year seven times.
On the playing field, Lotief helped mold 10 players into All-American status with his system producing a total of 14 All-American selections - Alana Addison (2001), Becky McMurtry (2002 & 2003), Danyele Gomez (2003, 2005 & 2006), Brooke Mitchell (2004), Holly Tankersley (2008), Karli Hubbard (2009), Gabriele Bridges (2011), Christi Orgeron (2011 & 2012), Nerissa Myers (2012) and Katie Smith (2012).
Support for the program is at an all-time high. Louisiana ranked fifth in the nation in attendance in 2012, setting school records for average (1,287) and total (25,730) attendance. The attendance carried over to the post-season as the Lafayette Regional led all 16 regionals for total attendance (14,097) and average attendance (2,350). All six games NCAA games broke the previous Lamson Park single game attendance record (1,529 vs. La.-Monroe on 5/5/12).
Known as one of the top collegiate hitting coaches in softball, Michael Lotief taught an approach to hitting that helped Louisiana annually become one of the top offensive teams in the country.
Under Lotief's guidance, the Ragin' Cajuns belted 725 home runs (72.5 home runs per season average). The team home run total was 50 or greater in each season he served as co-head coach (2003-12).
Some year-by-year highlights of Michael Lotief's coaching career follow:
• 2003 - Women's College World Series appearance (first season as co-head coach).
• 2004 - School record 60 victories (undefeated Sun Belt record).
• 2006 - First 100 home run season in school history (three players ranked in the Top 10 NCAA).
• 2003-06 ranked top 5 in the NCAA in home runs.
• 2008 - Women's College World Series appearance (defeated No. 1 seed Florida).
• 2010 - NCAA Super Regional appearance (second in three seasons).
• 2011 - NCAA's No. 1 ranked offense and individual RBI leader (Christi Orgeron).
• 2012 - NCAA Regional championship at Lamson Park.
• 2012 - NCAA No. 1 ranked offense and individual RBI leader (Christi Orgeron).
• Top 10 Winningest Coach in NCAA history by percentage (500-122, .804).
• 500th career victory (May 24, 2012 vs. Arizona State, Tempe Super Regional).
• 81 All-Sun Belt Conference athletes (61 first team selections).
• 14 All-American selections.
• 10 consecutive NCAA Championships appearances.
• 29 victories in 10 appearances in NCAA Championships.
• Hitting system produced 725 home runs (72.5 home runs per season average).
• Coached Top 5 home run hitters in school history - Danyele Gomez (83), Holly Tankersley (71), Christi Orgeron (70), Gabriele Bridges (66), Lacey Bertucci (58).