BATON ROUGE -- One of the greatest coaches in the history of women's softball and an icon throughout the state of Louisiana, LSU head coach Yvette Girouard will be inducted into the New Iberia Recreation Department’s Softball Hall of Fame in a banquet on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Sliman Theater in New Iberia.
A three-time National Coach of the Year and 2005 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, Girouard is entering her 28th year as a collegiate head coach, both with the Tigers and at Louisiana-Lafayette, where she built the program from the ground up beginning in 1981. Prior to her outstanding collegiate career, she began as a high school coach at Lafayette and her alma mater, Comeaux.
Girouard’s softball journey, however, began with the New Iberia Recreation Department’s leagues, playing for coach Maggi Romero, who later went onto become an assistant coach for Sue Gunter’s Lady Tiger basketball team for three seasons from 1982-1985.
For eight years, Girouard played for the highly successful New Iberia league softball team, which went on to be sponsored by Ton’s, the restaurant owned by her parents in Broussard.
With 26-straight winning seasons to her credit as a collegiate head coach, she has coached 39 All-Americans, 16 Academic All-Americans and taken her teams to 16 NCAA Regionals. Guiding LSU to a pair of Women’s College World Series appearances in her first four seasons, she became just the third coach in NCAA history to take two programs to the WCWS after leading Louisiana-Lafayette to three World Series appearances in the 1990s.
In 2004, she led LSU to its second Women's College World Series appearance, where the Tigers advanced to within one game of the championship game. After defeating Michigan in extra innings in its first game, LSU fell to eventual national champion UCLA in game two.
Weather postponed play for a day and forced the Tigers into the unenviable situation of having to win three games in a single day to advance to the national championship game. LSU began the day with a win over Florida State before defeating California to force just the seventh "if necessary" game in WCWS history.
Unfortunately, the Tigers could not get past California a second time and came up seven outs shy of the national championship game. LSU's remarkable run marked the first time since 1984 a school from east of the Mississippi River had advanced to within a game of the national championship. Tiger pitcher Kristin Schmidt was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, becoming the first player to earn the honor who was not a member of the national championship team.
In addition, the Tigers were ranked as high as second nationally, matching the highest national ranking for any team coached by Girouard. LSU finished the season ranked No. 3, the highest final ranking for the Tigers in the program's history.
In 2001, Girouard led LSU to its first appearance in the WCWS, where the Tigers finished third. Under her guidance, UL-Lafayette (formerly Southwestern Louisiana) advanced to the WCWS with a pair of fifth place finishes and a third-place finish in 1993.
Last season, Girouard became only the fifth head coach in NCAA Division I softball history and the sixth coach in NCAA history at any division to win 1,100 career games. She ranks as the fourth winningest coach in NCAA Division I history by percentage, posting a 1,122-351 record for a .762 career winning percentage.
With a .815 winning percentage in the 1990s, her teams posted the third-best winning percentage in the nation behind only Arizona and UCLA. In four seasons at LSU, she has posted the second most wins in the nation over that period, behind only Arizona, and the fourth-best winning percentage.
While her influence has been a catalyst for the growth of softball in the state and nationally for many years, her impact in just seven years in Baton Rouge has been no less significant. Becoming the first coach in Southeastern Conference history to lead a team to back-to-back tournament championships, Girouard made a clean sweep of the three major league titles (SEC Western Division, SEC Championship, SEC Tournament Championship) in three of her first five seasons as a Tiger.
To her credit, she has been named 1990 and 1993 National Coach of the Year and was the head coach of the 2001 National Coaching Staff of the Year. Girouard is a seven-time South Region Coach of the Year and led her programs to nine top 10 national finishes.
In addition, the 13-time Louisiana Coach of the Year has been named coach of the year by three separate conferences: the Southeastern in 2000 and 2002, the Sun Belt in 2000 and the Southland in 1984, 1985 and 1987. In 2002, she was inducted into the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
In her two decades as the Lady Cajuns' head coach before coming to Baton Rouge, she built the team from the ground floor with no scholarships and a $3,000 budget to one of the nation's perennial powers. She advanced her UL-Lafayette teams to the NCAA Regionals a total of 10 times, hosting on seven of those occasions.
Girouard was born in Broussard, La., and attended Comeaux High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern Louisiana in 1976 in health and physical education. During her college days, she played on the Lady Cajun volleyball team and was named the school's Female Athlete of the Year in 1976.
A champion of the sport, she has served a three-year term as the South Region representative on the NCAA All-American Committee and served two, two-year stints on the NCAA South Regional ranking committee. She also served as a member of the nine-person NCAA Softball Rules Committee.
With a list of accomplishments and awards that speak for themselves, Girouard has proven that she can take her teams to the next level and be successful. Her guidance and leadership have carried her through 27 seasons and hopefully she will continue to build upon her successes.
Eighth Year at LSU
28th Year Overall
Overall Record: 1,122-351 (.762)
Record at LSU: 363-101 (.782)
2005 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee
2001 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year
1990, 1993 NFCA National Coach of the Year
Seven-Time NFCA South Region Coach of the Year
Fifth-Winningest Active Division I Coach
Third-Best Winning Percentage Among Active Division I Coaches
Fifth-Winningest All-Time Division I Coach
Fourth-Best All-Time Division I Winning Percentage
Five Women’s College World Series Appearances
One of Three Coaches to Lead Two Programs to the WCWS
16 NCAA Regional Appearances
10 National Top 10 Finishes
2001, 2002 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
2000 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
1984, 1985, 1987 Southland Conference Coach of the Year
Nine Conference Championships (UL-Lafayette was Independent fro 1988-1999)
13-Time Louisiana Coach of the Year
2002 Louisiana Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee
2008 New Iberia Recreation Department Softball Hall of Fame Inductee
St. Cecilia School Hall of Fame Inductee
26-Straight Winning Seasons
19 Academic All-Americans