The following can be attributed to Dr. Joseph Savoie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette president.
Yvette Girouard has returned to Lamson Park.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns announced Friday that the coach credited with creating the most-successful sports program in University of Louisiana at Lafayette history now has the softball field named in her honor: Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The recognition is “the absolute ultimate,” Girouard told The Acadiana Advocate newspaper after the surprise announcement that preceded Friday’s 9-1 softball victory over the Troy Trojans.
“I never dreamed this would happen. This has always been home for me. This was a labor of love the entire time I was here. I loved our program and what it stood for. I still love it to this day.”
Girouard founded the program in 1981. Then-University President Dr. Ray P. Authement offered her the inaugural head coaching spot, but fiscal straits kept him from offering much else. No operating budget meant no uniforms, no student-athlete scholarships and no park.
From those inauspicious beginnings, Girouard accumulated a 759-250 record during her tenure as Ragin’ Cajuns softball coach. From 1982 until her departure from the program in 2000, she had 19 consecutive winning seasons. Her overall coaching record, which includes a decade as head coach of LSU’s softball team, is 1,285-421.
By 1993, she had led the team then known as the Lady Cajuns to a third-place finish in the Women’s College World Series. That same year, she earned her second National Coach of the Year title from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The first was in 1990.
The Ragin’ Cajuns also advanced to the world series in 1995 and 1996 under her watch, and earned 10 NCAA Tournament appearances from 1990 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2000.
Girouard remains the Ragin’ Cajuns all-time winningest head coach, noted Dr. Bryan Maggard, UL Lafayette director of athletics. “As the architect of Ragin’ Cajuns softball, Yvette Girouard built one of the all-time great softball programs.”
Like Maggard, current softball head coach Gerry Glasco said his predecessor’s reputation isn’t confined to Louisiana. “She is arguably one of the most successful coaches in the history of our sport.”
Girouard was a 2005 inductee into the NFCA Hall of Fame. She joined the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, and was a member of the Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.
Photo caption: Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)