LAFAYETTE, La. — Stefni Lotief, who has won 601 games in 12 seasons as head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns softball program, has elected to step aside as co-head coach in order to spend more time with her family.
Lotief will remain with the program as a volunteer assistant coach.
Michael Lotief, who has served as co-head coach since 2003, will take over as head coach and a search for a full-time assistant coach will begin immediately.
“After much thought and prayer and after weighing what is in the best interest of my family and just coming to terms with where I am in this stage of my life, I have decided to take a step back from coaching in order to spend more time with my children,” Stefni Lotief said.
“Coaching the softball team has always been a joint venture between Michael and I. Our roles and responsibilities have changed, evolved and shifted over the years, but we have always done things together. Our titles and roles will change, but our commitment to this community, our university and our student-athetes will not.”
As part of her decision, Stefni Lotief has accepted a position at Ascension Episcopal School in nearby Youngsville, where her children, Chelsea and Andrew, attend.
“The timing is right because we are at the end of another successful cycle of players who have excelled in the classroom and on the field,” Stefni Lotief said. “I know in my heart that this softball program is in great shape and good hands.”
“For the last two years, we have discussed the best way to structure the coaching staff to meet the ever changing challenges of college softball,” Michael Lotief said. “Our number one consideration has always been what is in the best interest of the program, our student-athletes and how we can continue the pursuit of excellence. We feel that these changes are what is best for the program and best for our family.”
“I can unequivocally say that Dr. Savoie and I both understand Stefni's decision to spend more time with her family. We believe that the Ragin' Cajuns softball program remains in good hands and remains headed in the right direction,” Director of Athletics Scott Farmer said.
“The Lotief family has dedicated their lives to this university and its softball program. We appreciate the commitment and loyalty that they have to the university and our athletic program.
“Although Stefni's title will change, it is reassuring to know that she wants to remain heavily involved in this program. By becoming a volunteer assistant, we will be able to add a second full-time assistant coach which can only help the program,” Farmer added.
Stefni Lotief has been a fixture in the UL softball program as both a coach and player for the last three decades.
She won 78 games as a pitcher from 1987-90 and still owns the second-lowest ERA in program history (0.66). She was the program's first All-American in 1989 and became the first Cajun to receive first team All-America honors the following year. She excelled in the classroom as well, being named the 1990 GTE Academic All-American of the Year in softball.
A 1990 UL graduate, she returned to the program to serve as an assistant coach in both 1996 and 1997.
In 2001, Stefni Lotief took over as head coach and the program has thrived. The Ragin' Cajuns are 601-145 (.806) in her 12 seasons, ranking her fourth all-time in NCAA history in winning percentage.
The Cajuns have won 50 or more games in a season eight times under Lotief, claiming 11 Sun Belt Conference regular season and 10 SBC tournament titles. She has been honored as the Sun Belt Coach of the Year seven times and the Louisiana Coach of the Year five times.
Under Lotief, UL has made the NCAA Championships field 11 times, including appearances in the Women's College World Series in 2003 and 2008. She has coached 14 All-Americans, 39 all-region and four Academic All-Americans, including Ashley Brignac who was named the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.
“We are so grateful to Dr. Savoie and Scott Farmer for their love and support of this program. We appreciate all of the contributions that the university community has made over the years to help our student-athletes grow,” Stefni Lotief said.
“What really makes this softball program so special is that we have the best fans anywhere. They are the rock upon which the program has been built and we owe everything to them. Change is never easy, but we know that our fans will help us through it and they will continue to help make this program very special,” Stefni Lotief added.