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Softball: Coach Lotief placed on administrative leave

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, Oct. 18, 2017

Head softball coach Michael Lotief has been placed on administrative leave by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

There were no details given in a general statement released by the university upon request Wednesday.

UL’s statement was:

“Since Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, Michael Lotief has been on a leave of absence from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In Lotief’s absence as head coach of the softball team, Assistant Coach Chris Malveaux is coordinating the program.”

Lotief offered a small glimpse into possible reasons for his leave. There is no indication as to the possibility of Lotief not being the coach for the 2018 softball season.

From the archive: Lotief eclipses 700 wins

Lotief’s response was delivered in a statement from his attorney, John E. McElligott Jr. The full text of the statement is:

“Approximately two weeks ago, Coach Lotief was informed that he was placed on administrative leave. We would like the softball fan base, Ragin’ Cajun supporters and the good people of Lafayette to understand that this action arises out of a passionate conversation about gender equity, between Coach Lotief and other University personnel. In this conversation, Coach Lotief raised simple issues like getting the grass cut, making sure students have an athletic trainer at practice, making sure the assistant coaches get paid and ensuring female athletes get a functional assessment before doing weight training.

“The Lotiefs have spent their university careers fighting for better opportunities for female athletes and to make sure they are afforded equitable opportunities. While no formal complaints have been made against Coach Lotief, we hope that this brings greater awareness to the issues of gender equity, and ask the community for their continued support and prayers for UL’s softball players in this difficult time.”

 

From the archive: Maggard eager to get to know Cajun coaches

Lotief is one of the nation’s most successful head softball coaches. He has a career record of 729-174. This past season, his program finished 47-8 and a record 23-1 in Sun Belt play.

The Cajuns fell to LSU in the NCAA Regional finals. Prior to that, UL had been in five straight Super Regionals, and had also won NCAA Regional Tournaments in six of seven and seven out of the previous nine seasons.

More than just overall winning, Lotief is regarded as one of the top hitting coaches in America. In his 14 seasons, UL has pounded out 1,127 home runs with a .307 team batting average.

More: Michael, Stefni Lotief selected for La. Softball Hall of Fame

The Cajuns have made the Women’s College World Series three times in his era. Under Lotief, the Cajuns have the second longest stretch of five straight seasons finishing in the Top 15 nationally.

Overall, the Cajuns have won 40 games in each of his 14 seasons, eight over 50 and a school-record 60 wins in 2004.

This isn’t the first time Lotief has at least been temporarily detached from the softball program.

From the archive:"To my players, I love you"

In February of 2013, he delivered a bombshell right before the start of the season by announcing his resignation from the program.

Lotief’s reason at the time was for family concerns.

He later returned that season and the Ragin’ Cajuns made it to a Super Regional, before returning to the Women’s College World Series the next season.

More: UL’s Lotief garners perseverance award

Then in March of 2015, Lotief was forced to leave the team in the middle of the season for serious health concerns. Lotief has been battling cancer — carcinoma of the nasopharynx — since his high school days in 1983. Throat infections in 2015 worsened his condition and he missed a road trip to Texas State.

Lotief also wasn’t able to fly, so he also missed several road trips for medical reasons.

Because of his courageous battle with cancer, Lotief received the 2016 Donna Newberry Perseverance Award, which recognizes the NFCA member coach “who has demonstrated extraordinary strength of will and character in the fight to overcome a physical, mental or social adversity.”

More: UL's Lamson Park voted best in nation



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