While much controversy has surrounded Louisiana-Lafayette’s dismissal of Michael Lotief as head coach, lost amidst the fray is the fact that that Ragin Cajuns are without a head coach – and coaching staff – with just weeks to go before the 2018 season.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential candidates to take the reins of the Cajuns in 2018.
Kyla Holas, former head coach, Houston
>>> Former longtime Houston head coach Holas has to be considered a frontrunner for the position. She is a Cajun alum, has championship experience as a head coach, and isn’t currently committed to a team. Holas won three all-American awards as a Cajun and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1999. She spent sixteen years as the head coach at Houston, three times winning the C-USA regular season championship and twice being named the league’s Coach of the Year. Holas departed the Cougars after 2016 and has only coached as an assistant for the Chicago Bandits for one summer season since that time.
Yvette Girouard, former head coach, LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette
>>> The legendary Hall of Famer and decades-long Cajun may be a pipe dream for Cajuns fans, but if Girouard were willing, she could be an ideal candidate to help guide the Cajuns through the current turmoil and keep them on a winning track. The return of DJ Sanders and Aleah Craighton have the Cajuns in a good position to keep up their offensive-heavy, winning ways, with the right leader in charge. Girouard seems comfortable in her current role as a broadcaster for LSU and the SEC Network, but leading the Cajuns through their current valley could coax her – however briefly – out of retirement if anything could.
Alyson Habetz, associate head coach, Alabama
>>> Another Cajun alum, Habetz has had quite the career as Pat Murphy’s top lieutenant with the Crimson Tide. The program’s success is nearly as much of a credit to her as it is to Murphy himself. The energetic stalwart in the first-base coach’s box for the Tide, Habetz’s abilities as a hitting instructor are often underrated. Though Habetz is, by all accounts, content and comfortable in her role on the perennial-championship-contending Tide, the former ULL player could be drawn to keep her alma mater at the top of the game.
James DeFeo, head coach, George Washington
>>> DeFeo served on Girouard’s coaching staff in 2000 with the Ragin Cajuns, helping lead the squad to the NCAA regional round before following Girouard to LSU, where he spent eleven years, a tenure that included ten NCAA tournament appearances and two Women’s College World Series berths for the Tigers. DeFeo is also tied to the Cajuns through his sister, Stephanie, now head coach at Mercer and a Louisiana-Lafayette alum. DeFeo enjoyed sustained success at Mercer before moving to George Washington before last season. He immediately began to right the ship with the Colonials and seems to be on his way to Atlantic 10 conference contention in short order.
Andy Lee, head coach, LSU-Eunice
>>> The son of Boston Red Sox legend Spaceman Lee has established himself as one of the top coaches at the junior college level. With five national championships under his belt, Lee has the Bengals as one of the most successful collegiate programs, at any level, in the state of Louisiana. Lee has been occasionally mentioned when a Division 1 position comes up in Louisiana or the regional area where he is a familiar name, but he has remained at LSUE for what will be his tenth season in 2018. A successful coach currently based less than an hour from Lafayette could be a good candidate to take over the Ragin Cajuns.
Howard Dobson, assistant coach, LSU
>>> Beth Torina’s offensive guru had a significant hand in the development of some of the best Tiger hitters in the program’s history, as well as the program’s three consecutive Women’s College World Series’ berths. A former Oklahoma assistant, Dobson also served as head coach at Southern Miss for a quartet of seasons before joining the LSU staff. His name has come up on occasion for various positions, but a move across the state from contender to contender could put Dobson back into a head coach’s role.
Angel Santiago, head coach, Nicholls State
>>> In just five years, Santiago has taken the Colonels program from the conference cellar to winning nearly 70% of their games and a second-place conference finish. Another in-state candidate, Santiago’s star has been on the rise thanks to two consecutive impressive winning records and a rise through the mid-FBS ranks and the Southland conference. A former Florida State and UNLV assistant coach, on his current track, it’s a matter of “when” not “if” Santiago continues moving up the ladder. The Ragin Cajuns’ position could be that time