UL Lafayette announced late Thursday afternoon that Michael Lotief, who stepped aside as head coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns softball team in early February and became a volunteer assistant, has returned as head coach effective immediately.

Lotief, who said family issues were paramount in his decision to step down, has apparently had a change of heart. Or, as many have speculated was the real issue in this matter, the university has come through with additional funding for the program.

The Daily Advertiser reported that he signed a five-year contract extension.

The university also announced that Megan Granger, who served as the interim head coach, will remain as an assistant coach, and former Cajuns standout Lana Bower also will remain as an assistant coach. Assistant Coach Josh Johnson is on leave to play for the USA National Team in New Zealand.

lotief_2The university went on to say that everyone is tickled pink (our words, of course) about Lotief's return. UL President Joe Savoie is "confident" Lotief will guide his players to reach their full potential, Athletic Director Scott Farmer is "happy" about his return and Lotief is "renewed."

Lotief has a 500-122 overall record and a 173-36 mark in Sun Belt Conference play in 10 seasons as head coach. The Lady Cajuns, ranked 13th in the latest ESPN/USA softball poll, will play Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Texas, College of Charleston and Illinois State in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic this weekend in Kissimmee, Fla.

The IND will update this story as soon as more information is available.

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