Softball: How Good Of A Hire Is Gerry Glasco For UL Softball?
Steve Peloquin , ESPN 1420, November 20, 2017
So, how good is the hiring of Gerry Glasco for UL softball?
Glasco, a longtime SEC assistant, is expected to be named the fourth head coach in Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball history today, and only the third with a last name other than Girouard or Lotief.
Truthfully, Louisiana was lucky to get a coach with the qualifications of Glasco.
On the other hand, Glasco should feel incredibly fortunate he gets to run a special program like the one he's taking over.
Why is UL so fortunate?
Well, obviously, it's not the ideal time to go out to look for a new coach, and the uncertainty surrounding a number of players returning likely made things more difficult.
But really, other than one name, I don't know if one could come up with a better candidate, realistically.
And yeah, I'll give you that one name.
Former Ragin' Cajun great Alyson Habetz, an assistant at Alabama, was the favorite of many UL fans, but as it turned out, that just wasn't in the cards.
Habetz currently has a base salary that tops that of UL head baseball coach Tony Robichaux, and will be eligible for retirement in the state of Alabama within the next 5 years.
It would have been a big sacrifice for Habetz to take a drop in salary, and leave the state of Alabama, so close to being retirement-eligible.
There's also some talk of Alabama head coach Pat Murphy, a former Cajun assistant, retiring within the next 5 years, and Habetz taking over that program.
Habetz, because of her ties to the area, and the university, along with her outgoing personality, and her tremendous success as an assistant at an elite softball school, would have been a perfect fit.
But the timing wasn't right, and that's just the case sometimes. It's hard to hire the right coach, because everything has to fall into place, for both the school and the coach.
Hiring a coach, the right coach, is hard, most of the time.
Still, it seems like Louisiana made a home run hire in Glasco.
Glasco doesn't have head coaching experience, at the collegiate level, but does have head coaching experience, and has been part of some elite college programs.
He accepted the associate head coaching job in September, after spending three seasons as associate head coach at Texas A&M, prior to which he spent seven seasons at Georgia.
A native of Crab Orchard, Illinois, Glasco coached 11 All-Americans and 29 All-SEC players in 10 years in the SEC.
Last season, the Aggies broke five school records including runs scored (429), on-base percentage (.437), RBI (401), total bases (852), and OPS (.988) with the help of Glasco, who is known as a coach that emphasizes power.
Glasco joined Texas A&M after 9 seasons with the University of Georgia, including six seasons as an assistant coach, before being promoted to associate head coach after the 2011 season. He helped the Bulldogs to a 277-92 during his time there, helping them to accumulate 20 offensive school records.
That's his resume as an assistant.
As a head coach, Glasco founded the Illinois Southern Force Softball organization, serving as head coach from 2001-08.
The team finished in the top-20 four times at ASA Gold Nationals, and won the 2004 18 and under Gold National Championship.
That year, Glasco and his staff were named the National Coaching Staff of the year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) for Travel Softball.
In the summer of 2014, Glasco also led the USSSA Florida Pride as head coach to a National Pro Fastpitch regular season championship title and NPF Tournament championship title for the first time in team history.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Glasco was head coach of the Scrap Yard Dawgs, of the NPF in 2017, guiding them to a league title.
So, Glasco certainly has the resume. He has been around the game for a long time, is well-respected, has been around good programs and organizations, has had success as both an assistant and a head coach, and has many recruiting ties.
What's there not to like?
Again, considering who they got, when they got him, under the circumstances they he agreed to come under; Glasco looks like a great hire.
Is this hire guaranteed to work? No. But on paper, it's tough to come up with too many better hires, realistically.
So, why is Glasco fortunate?
Simple; because this is such a special program.
Look, regardless what your views are of the mess over the last 5-6 weeks, Glasco is replacing a great coach. A GREAT one.
In 15 seasons as either head coach or co-head coach at Louisiana, and 17 seasons overall, Michael Lotief was part of a program that advanced to the NCAA tournament in every single one.
The Cajuns' success under Lotief is unquestioned.
He led his teams to over 40 wins in every season, eight seasons with 50-or-more victories, and a school-record 60 wins in 2004.
Under his guidance as head coach, the Cajuns advanced to three Women’s College World Series (2003, 2008 & 2014), seven NCAA Super Regionals and 15 NCAA regionals.
In addition, Louisiana captured the Sun Belt Conference regular season championship 13 times in his 15-year tenure as a head coach, including 15 titles in his 17 seasons, overall.
The Cajuns also won 14 conference tournament championships in the 18 years of softball in the league, while posting an all-time record of 56-8 in the event, with Lotief in the dugout.
The Cajuns, under Lotief, went 47-8 last season, winning the Sun Belt Conference title with the best record in league history (23-1) before losing to LSU in the Baton Rouge Regional finals. Before that loss, Louisiana had advanced to five straight NCAA super regionals and had won NCAA regional titles in seven of the previous nine years.
And he did it by doing what he did best; developing players.
Other than Ashley Brignac, UL wasn't able to land many high-profile recruits. And they shouldn't have been expected too. As special as the program is, it's still not a school from a major conference, and those schools get most of the big time recruits.
Lotief was the master at developing.
Take Christi Orgeron, as a perfect example. She wasn't good enough to even play as a true freshman in 2008, so she redshirted. Three years later, she was an All-American.
I never worried about Lotief's recruiting classes, because I knew at least a couple in every class would turn into pretty special players.
And oh yeah; there was a pretty special head coach that started it all, in Yvette Girouard, who is in both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Girouard coached the Cajuns from 1981-2000, compiling an overall record of 759-250, including three trips to the WCWS.
Simply put, the program wouldn't be where it is today without Girouard. She built it brick-by-brick.
Those two, along with Stefni Lotief, are UL graduates, who gave their hearts and souls to make the program successful.
And successful it has been!
Since 1990, the Cajuns have appeared in the NCAA Regionals every year, with the exception of 1998.
In 2017, Louisiana appeared in the NCAA Softball Tournament for the 19th-consecutive season, and for the 27th time in the last 28 years, tying them with Cal State Fullerton for 8th place for the most all-time appearances.
This is a special program, with special players and coaches that have passed through.
The fact that the program has had the consistent success it has had, despite being a "mid-major" school, has been nothing short of amazing, and all of the coaches and players that have passed through have had something to do with that.
Just think about it for a second; this program has had Yvette Girouard, along with Stefni and Michael Lotief as it's head coaches. That's a "wow" type of thing!
Gerry Glasco has some big shoes to fill, in this, a crucial time in program history.
The university needed to make another home run hire, someone they could trust to continue the tradition, and make sure the success continues.
On paper, especially under the circumstances, that looks to be the case, but time will tell.