McNeese rewards Landreneau

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

James Landreneau says if you put in the work you will reap the rewards.

He does it every year as his McNeese State softball team doesn’t shy away from tough schedules. This season was no different.

And his team rewarded their coach with a victory in the Baton Rouge Regional last weekend before they bowed out of the NCAA postseason.

On Thursday the school rewarded Landreneau for his efforts, granting him a three-year contract extension with an option for a fourth. Financial details were not released.

“I felt the timing was right to do this,” McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer said. “He has done a tremendous job with the program, both on and off the field.

“James has earned this. I know how the business of college athletics work and the opportunities he could have moving forward. Keeping James here was my No. 1 priority.”

“James has done a good job in putting us on the national stage,” he said. “That’s important for our entire athletic program as we move forward.”

Landreneau’s Cowgirls posted a 35-26 record this spring while capturing the Southland Conference Tournament to earn the NCAA’s automatic bid. It was Mc-Neese’s fourth postseason appearance in Landreneau’s five seasons at the helm, three of those in the NCAA Tournament.

The only time he missed extra play was last year when COVID-19 cut the season short.

“I feel like this is the right place and time to be at McNeese,” Landreneau said in a news release. “I’ve been blessed with great players and a great coaching staff that are committed to success. The support we have received from our administration has been nothing short of remarkable.”

But his record tells only part of the story.

McNeese played 16 games against ranked opponents, traveling for most of those games. A 17th game against a ranked foe was washed out.

The Cowgirls were 34-11 against unranked opponents this year and 1-15 against ranked teams.

“I want to schedule the best competition I can to get us ready for the postseason every year,” Landreneau said. “We want to get exposed early. That’s how you learn, that’s how you grow.”

Landreneau has posted a 171-104 record at McNeese.

During his tenure at McNeese, Landreneau’s teams have won an SLC regular-season championship in 2017 and three SLC Tournament titles (2017, ’18, ’21). He was named the 2017 SLC Coach of the Year.

His 2017 squad won a school-record 43 games and in 2018 during a 41-win season, the Cowgirls cracked the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 national poll for the first time in school history.

Landreneau has coached 26 players to all-SLC honors, four all-region picks, seven all-Louisiana selections, and two all-Americans (Erika Piancastelli and Justyce McClain).

“I’m extremely excited to have coach Landreneau here for the foreseeable future,” Schroyer said. “Coach is a winner. He has a great culture, and at the end of the day, he’s truly a ball coach. He personally recruits hard and he coaches hard, and I love that. He’s always working to make himself and his players better.”

””

Coach James Landreneau congratulates Haylee Brinlee after a homer during their game at Cowgirl Diamond in Lake Charles, La., Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Rick Hickman / American Press

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