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Softball Reunion General Information

Nov. 09, 2013 article

UL Softball – 30 years of guts and glory + a review of the 1980 Club Sport Softball Team

Dan McDonald, Daily Advertiser, Nov. 9, 2013

Program reliving storied past at weekend reunion

Former UL softball players Donna Clark, left, and Pat Pourciau sign a helmet to be raffled off during UL-Troy tailgating on Thursday.

Former UL softball players Donna Clark, left, and Pat Pourciau sign a helmet to be raffled off during tailgating before an NCAA football game between UL and Troy Thursday at Cajun Field in Lafayette. By Leslie Westbrook November 7, 2013
Former UL softball players Donna Clark, left, and Pat Pourciau sign a helmet to be raffled off during UL-Troy tailgating on Thursday. / Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser

Former UL softball players Melody Mohar Muffoletto, from left, Cathy Sconzo-Blackburn, Donna Crooks Delahoussaye, Susan Williams-Chambliss and former coach Yvette Girouard pose for a photo while tailgating before the UL-Troy football game Thursday at Cajun Field.

Former UL softball players Melody Mohar Muffoletto, from left, Cathy Sconzo-Blackburn, Donna Crooks Delahoussaye, Susan Williams-Chambliss and former Coach Yvette Girouard pose for a photo while tailgating before an NCAA football game between UL and Troy Thursday at Cajun Field in Lafayette. By Leslie Westbrook November 7, 2013 
Former UL softball players Melody Mohar Muffoletto, from left, Cathy Sconzo-Blackburn, Donna Crooks Delahoussaye, Susan Williams-Chambliss and former coach Yvette Girouard pose for a photo while tailgating before the UL-Troy football game Thursday at Cajun Field. / Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser

Today’s Reunion Schedule

3 p.m. – Old Timers softball game and Home Run Derby at Lamson Park;  4 p.m. – Alumni meet & greet with fans;  5 p.m. – Alumni team vs. 2014 UL softball team, Lamson Park.

They didn’t have much, those early USL softball teams.The uniforms came from the campus bookstore. “We found a bunch of shirts that matched and had ‘USL’ pressed on them, wore some red shorts and played with P.E. equipment,” remembered pitcher Pat Pourciau.

Even after the program became a varsity sport, the playing field remained an issue. “They (the players) borrowed my dad’s truck and stole sand from somewhere,” remembered Yvette Girouard.

They didn’t have scholarships at the start. Blaise Talbot came out of New Iberia Senior High as a catcher and was the first USL softball player to receive athletic financial aid … even though she probably would have played without it. “I knew I wanted to be a Lady Cajun, Girouard said she wanted me to be a Lady Cajun, and that was it,” she remembered.

Comparatively, they didn’t have much. But there were things they did have.

The early Lady Cajuns had opportunity, a cherished commodity in the days where government was still figuring out the scope of Title IX and what it meant to universities and athletic programs. They had a coach that cared, one who was reluctant at first to sign on, and one whose mom pushed her to pursue something that mostly existed in dreams. That hasn’t changed, with the belief that coaches Girouard, Stefni and Michael Lotief have in their program, their university and their community still serving as the foundation of a storied program.

But the most important thing those early pillars of the Cajun softball program had was family … and they had that in bucket-loads.

“You can’t describe it,” said Talbot, who joined the team for the second season and was behind the plate for four years. “The bond that we formed that quick, it was unexplainable. But you immediately knew there was a family bond, and you knew at some point that it would be special.”


Try 23 NCAA Tournament appearances in 24 years and five trips to the Women’s College World Series, more than 1,400 wins and 40 All-Americans, and countless tournament wins and all-conference and all-region selections, not to mention a wall dotted of Academic All-American plaques.

That success is being celebrated this weekend when the program holds its first true full-scale reunion, with players, staff and followers from the first 33 years taking part in three days of activities. Activities began Thursday at the UL-Troy football game, but the highlight comes at 3 p.m. today at Lamson Park with an “Old-Timers” game, the younger alumni squaring off against the current Cajun squad, and many other activities that celebrate the unbridled success of the program since that 1981 inaugural season.

Several members of the 16-woman original team are back this weekend, many of them for the first time. “We had a reunion in the 20th year,” Girouard said, “but some of the original players I haven’t seen in 30 years. It’s really, really special.”

That team, composed of walk-ons and tryout survivors, won their first-ever varsity doubleheader at UNO. The final record that year was 7-15, mostly against established programs. The next year that mark improved to 15-13. Two years later they won the Southland Conference title, and even greater success lay in the not-too-distant future.

“I was concerned with the wins and losses,” Girouard said, “but in the big picture it was all about the experiences. This weekend, they can’t remember the scores to any games, but they sure can remember the stories … and they’re all begging for more time to tell them and hear them.”

Pourciau does remember winning those first games, remembers the first pitch to catcher Stacey Blue (”I think it was a strike,” she said), and the honor of throwing USL’s inaugural pitch still resonates. But that honor pales compared to the memories.

“It was the true concept of team,” said Pourciau, who carried the pitching load in those first two years. “It developed character. I loved being part of the builder. You look back at it and it’s a humbling experience. We were so happy to have the opportunity. It’s still a privilege to be a part of this program.”

Cathy Sconzo found that out early, despite breaking her nose on the very first day of practice in her freshman year (”I walked into the athletic complex, and Brian Mitchell gave me the shirt off his back to stop the bleeding,” she said). She was part of a big class of freshmen in 1989 and a key part of the team that first cracked the national polls (seventh at the end of the 1990 regular season) and claimed a first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“It was obvious my freshman year that the pieces were there,” she said, “and we were on the verge of becoming something big. It was a great feeling to be part of that. When South Carolina came to our park to play that year (1990), that was sort of the break-through moment.”

Sconzo came from Oklahoma City, site of the Women’s College World Series, but the 1992 All-American infielder hasn’t been back to campus for a softball event in decades. She did return to Lafayette for the funeral of Girouard’s mother Rosemary several years ago.

“Yvette’s parents took us under their wing and made us feel at home when we were a long way from home,” she said. “You remember the great plays and the awards some, but it’s the intangibles like that that stay with you, the working for it, all the hard work. The first players here all talk about family, and the players that are here right now still talk about that. The family aspect never went away.”

Neither did the hard work, and that goes all the way back to the club team that was the impetus for what has become the university’s most successful program on the national level.

Pourciau, who played high school softball at P.G.T. Beauregard in St. Bernard Parish, helped organize that club team and also approached USL athletic administrator Sherry LeBas about starting a true varsity team.

“She wasn’t sure there was enough interest,” Pourciau said, “but we had maybe 100 people show up when we announced tryouts. But if you have a team, you need a coach.”

Pourciau and fellow inaugural-team member Donna Clark approached Girouard, who had taught and coached in Lafayette Parish but had left to take a full-time role in the family business at the landmark Ton’s Drive-In in Broussard.

“I told them I’d do it for a year,” Girouard said. “We had no salary, no real budget. But my mom finally told me that I was going to do this … that I was born to do this and not serve the public hamburgers.

“We didn’t have scholarships, but we had kids that loved playing softball. They would have done anything to go to the games. A sandwich and a Coke was fine. It wasn’t about what they were given, they just wanted to represent the university and play softball.

“It was the climb, it was the struggle. It was fun … we didn’t know any better. It was just a simple, beautiful time.”

“It built a little every year,” Talbot said. “When (pitcher) Kim Eisnaugle came in, I remember how my hand hurt when I caught her. My senior year, when Sharen (Wynn) and Ursula (Quoyeser) and all of them were playing, we were pretty good. We started getting respected, and that helped the next few teams make it to a higher level.”

“The former players were always really supportive of the program,” Sconzo said. “Girouard was wonderful about telling the stories and never letting the foundation of the program die. We heard the stories about painting the fences and laying the sod. They weren’t regional teams, but they set the stage.”

The numbers speak for themselves. That success has continued … but so has the overwhelming feelings of unity and camaraderie. More than 200 have been a part of the special sorority that celebrates its very being this weekend.

“Alisa Smith (1985-88) said it best last night,” Girouard said Friday as she sat at modern and state-of-the-art Lamson Park, one not far in distance but light-years advanced from that original field. “She’d played volleyball and came over to softball, and she said this is such a family compared to anything else she’d ever been associated with. That’s still the atmosphere today. That’s was made this special and keeps it special today … it’s one big family.”

“A fellow teacher heard me talking about the impact that the USL program and Girouard had on our lives, how immeasurable it has been,” Talbot said. “She said I was lucky to have played for her and for USL, and she’s right.”

Athletic Network Footnote:
Click here for the Photo Gallery of the 1980 Club Sport team and the letter written by Donna Clark. 


Announcement #4: Softball to Host 33 Years of Alumni this Weekend


Nick Ross, November 6, 2013

Contact: Nick Ross

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball program is hosting an Alumni Reunion weekend, capped off with an Alumni softball game and other events on Saturday, November 9 starting at 3 p.m. at Lamson Park.
The alumni game is open to the public, with events starting at 3 p.m. and the actual game starting at 5 p.m.
In 33 years, the Ragin’ Cajuns softball program has won over 1,400 games, advanced to 23 NCAA Regionals, five Women’s College World Series and had 40 All-Americans, as well as countless all-conference selections, all-region selections, academic all-Americans, and role players.
All former players are welcomed back for a weekend-long reunion, consisting of three days of events for Alumni, and an alumni game, open to the public at Lamson Park on Saturday.
The Ragin’ Cajuns Softball Alumni will be honored on Thursday evening on the field at halftime in the football game against Troy at Cajun Field.
The reunion will be culminating on Saturday, with an Alumni Game, open to all fans.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Cajundome Ticket Office at 337-265-2104, or at the gate.  Reserved tickets are $10, and general admission tickets are $6.
Gates will open at 2 p.m. with an "Old Timers" Softball Game/Homerun Derby at 3 p.m.  That will lead to a fan "Meet & Greet" with the alumni and current players.  The day will be capped off with an Alumni vs. Current Ragin’ Cajuns softball game.
The entire day will be filled with other games, such as trivia, throwback competitions and such, to win prizes.
The Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team opens their 2014 campaign on Friday, February 7, when they take on Texas at Lamson Park.  The 2014 home schedule features visits from Texas, Michigan, and the defending national champions, Oklahoma.  Season tickets can be purchased by calling the Cajundome Ticket Office, or by going to RaginCajuns.com. 

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Announcement #3: Softball Reunion to Bring All 30 Teams Back Home

“It’s time to come home!”  Our University and the softball family will be celebrating a special reunion for all 30 teams that have competed and represented “US” over the years.  Make plans:  November 7, 8 & 9 are going to be extraordinary.  This is our first reunion and we want to make it special not only for the alumni but also for all of the fans that have embraced and supported this program.
Some highlights of the events are:  Home football game on Thursday night, November 7th vs. Troy and there will be tailgating before the game and then the former teams/players/coaches will be recognized at halftime.  There will be a reception on Friday night.  And then of course, time for some softball – on Saturday, the 9th starting at 2 there will be some slow pitch games and HR derbies for some of the “OLD timers”, then at 5:00 the present team will play an alumni team (trainers will be on standby).
These events will truly be special and we would like for you (who have been such an integral part of OUR TEAM and OUR SUCCESSES) to be included and involved.
We have put together a package for the alumni softball games on Saturday similar to the one we have for the USSSA Pride game that is scheduled for September 29th: 5 reserved tickets, a parking pass and post-game access to the players for $50.00.  Our goal is to sell 100 packages so we can cover the cost of the reunion – it is our intention to cover ALL the costs of the reunion (tailgating, admission to the football game, reception, commemorative t-shirt, etc.) without charging the former players or coaches a  registration fee.  Additionally, we have limited space for the reception: so for those who are season ticket holders and purchase the $50.00 package to the alumni softball game, FOR AN ADDITIONAL $50.00 you can help us cover the cost of the reception (food and drinks) and join us Friday evening at the recognition reception and social.   
PLUS we plan on using this weekend as a FUNDRAISER.  ALL excess funds raised from this reunion weekend will go specifically to help purchase banners, signage, photographs, etc., that display and preserve the rich history and proud tradition of this softball program.
Additional sponsorships/donor levels are available and needed to make sure this is a first class event and to start the process of properly “signing” the field and stadium.  Please make your donations payable to UL Softball (memo: reunion weekend) and send your donations to attn.: SOFTBALL REUNION WEEKEND, 201 Reinhardt Drive, Lafayette, LA 70506.
Thank you again for helping us “welcome home” our alumni.  Your support of RAGIN’ CAJUNS SOFTBALL is appreciated.  Thank you for being a part of “US”!  GEAUX CAJUNS!



Submitted by Jan Jumonville, Oct. 8, 2013 

* * * * * * * * * *  

Announcement #2:

Mark your calendar and visit  www.athleticnetwork for information to follow.
See first committee framework below, followed by the AN Softball Newsletter dated August 8, 2013.   

First Softball Reunion Committee Meeting
Reunion Dates: November 7,8,9th/ Reunion Activities & Details are Very Tentative:
Thursday, November 7, 2013
*UL VS Troy Football Game/ Kick Off @ 6:30 pm
1.  Tailgate at a tba location/ time prior to game/ Karen Dailey coordinating
2.  Halftime Recognition– All former players/coaches/ to be recognized
3.  Tickets/seating for the game to be discussed with Athletic Dept. (Sherry)
Friday, November 8, 2013
1. Breakfast at the park/ Robert Harris will cook/ time is tba
2. Tour of Campus/ Athletic Facilities/ details to be worked out
3. Softball Reunion Reception/ time and location tba (Stefni looking into Alumni Center)
Saturday, November 9, 2013
1. Alumni vs. Alumni Game/ 5pm (tentative)
2. Alumni vs. Current Team/ to follow Alumni game
Brenda:    In Charge of Tracking All Former Players
1. Yvette will handle 1981-2000 by appointing captains to locate former  members during these years
2. Stefni & Tiffany will handle 2001 till now in locating players from this time
Robert will create an event poster/banner as well as t-shirts.
Next  schedule Meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 3rd @ 10:30 am

* * * * * * * * * *

#1 Softball Newsletter – August 9, 2013

A Softball Reunion is being planned for Nov. 7-9, 2013. It begins with former players being introduced at the football game on Thursday evening and includes a Recognition Social and other activities – including some Alumni vs. Alumni softball on the field. It promises to be a wonderful time.

Coach Yvette Girouard and Coaches Michael and Stefni Lotief are/have established a network of former players.  The committee is trying to reach everyone who was part of the program from 1980 to present about the reunion – players, coaches, managers, athletic trainers, sports information, etc. Loyal fans are included on the reunion committee.  

Please forward this email to your teammates and ask them to help reach out to teammates and others they know who were part of the program. A mailing is planned as soon as we can build the data base.

In the meantime it is important that we post as many profiles as possible since they will be used to generate the mailing information. Thank you.
Everyone is encouraged to check their profile (can use Last Name box in upper left, then scroll for name) and update as needed. Please make your profile as accurate and complete as possible. Thank you.

We have used information provided to us  to update some AN profiles.  Those are now posted at www.athleticnetwork.net   – you may search in the “See the Latest Profiles” banner (on right of News Box)  and click on the name.

To update your profile, please click on the Submit/Update Profile in the upper left (where four search engines are located).
Please use the email address in your profile and your password    (email athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu if you need your password)       to open your profile. These two items will allow you to open and update your profile. While updating you may create your own password. Once completed, please click on the Submit Box at the bottom of the profile format and it will be sent to the AN for posting. You will be sent an email as soon as it is posted.

Please consider writing in the footnote box. It is open ended so you may let viewers know about your time at the university and the major events in your life since those days.

Updates may be done as often as needed. The keyboard is in your hand. Please allow AN viewers to know about you beyond the fact that you were an athlete during the years indicated for your sport. Thank you.
To view the listing of former Softball players, click on www.athleticnetwork.net , Select a Team (upper left), highlight and click on Softball. The teams are listed alphabetically by year for the 1980-2013 years. Click on a name to see what they have submitted for their profile. If a person wishes to submit their profile, they may email athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu  and that will get the ball rolling.

To view the Softball photo gallery, click on www.athleticnetwork.net , Photo Gallery, Softball, any of the years of the Softball. Click on a thumbnail and the photo will be enlarged. A click on it reverses the process.

We look forward to communicating with you about the reunion. Thank you for helping spread the word.

Peace, Ed Dugas

Dr. Ed Dugas, Research Coordinator