DeWitt resigns as first softball coach at LSUE
By Tom Dodge
Brian DeWitt will always be credited with the birth and infancy of the Louisiana State University at Eunice softball program.
But it will be another coach who will lead the three-year- old program into the next stage; as DeWitt resigned on Monday as the Lady Bengals concluded the 2008 season with a third straight trip to the NJCAA Division II regionals.
DeWitt’s teams compiled 19-17, 21-24 and 15-19 seasons since the beginning of the program in 2006.
“I didn’t get it done this year,” DeWitt said. “I stepped down for the good of the program and I hope the next coach can build on what I started and take it to the next level.”
DeWitt said he is proud of the fact the LSUE softball program is now on the map and he is excited to see what they are going to accomplish.
Now the process begins to find the right coach to continue to build the program, according to LSUE Athletic Director Jeff Willis.
“We are looking for the most-qualified candidate out there,” Willis said. “It doesn’t matter if it is a high school or college coach. We want the most-qualified person possible to come in and take over the program and to continue to move it in the right direction.”
He said that the process, following LSU protocol, will take between six and eight weeks and the new coach is required to have a master’s degree.
Willis also explained that all scholarships and letters of intent issued by DeWitt for the upcoming 2008-2009 academic year will be honored by the university.
“They signed with the school not the coach,” Willis said of incoming freshmen and returning sophomores.
“We were happy with the process that was going on with a new program,” Willis said of DeWitt’s leadership. “He wanted to head closer to his home (Wisconsin).
“He did a tremendous job in the three years he was here,” Willis continued. “We saw progress happen from the first year to this year and we understood there would be some growing pains and that would be part of it.”
DeWitt said he plans to stay in coaching and will always keep informed about the LSUE program.
“Don’t be surprised if you see me at a Lady Bengal game,” he said. “I will always be one of their biggest fans.”
“I will miss the students that will be on next year’s team,” the coach continued. “They have a reputation of working hard both in the classroom and on the field. The team was filled with quality players and great people.”
DeWitt said the biggest challenge with beginning the program was selling the idea to others.
“We spent the first year here just selling the dream we had to players and their parents.
“Once we had a team it was easier to recruit. The girls built a reputation of working hard and doing things the right way each year.”
Willis said there is a bright future for the Lady Bengal softball program with the quality players on the team and the recruits that will join next season.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Willis said. “Softball has a good budget with a lot of scholarships and a great field to play on.
“There are a lot of positives in that program,” he concluded. “It will be a great job for someone.”