LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese State officially introduced James Landreneau as its new head softball coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Jack Doland Fieldhouse in front of family members, friends, and fans.
Landreneau was promoted to head coach last week to succeed Joanna Hardin who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Virginia. Landreneau has spent the last four years as a Cowgirl assistant including three of the last four on regular season conference championship teams.
The native of Mamou, Louisiana, Landreneau has been the constant component and the offensive mind on the last two Cowgirl coaching staffs. He first came to McNeese in 2013 when former Cowgirl head coach and current Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith hired him to be on his staff. When Smith took the Ole Miss job following the 2014 season, Hardin retained Landreneau on her staff.
"I am humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to lead this softball program," said Landreneau. "I would first like to give special thanks to President Philip Williams and Athletics Director Bruce Hemphill, Bridget Martin and Tanner Stine for all their support in this process."
In his four years at McNeese, the Cowgirls have compiled a 157-66 overall record and an 83-20 mark in Southland Conference play and has been a part of three conference championships (2013, 2014, 2016) while coaching three league player of the year recipients.
"I could not have become the coach that I am today without some help along the way and for Mike Smith and Joanna Hardin to have enough faith and confidence in me to allow me to be part of their staff, said Landreneau."
This past year, Landreneau coached an offense that was led by two-time NFCA All-America catcher and Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year Erika Piancastelli as the Cowgirls won the league regular season and tournament championships while playing in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regionals where they beat former national champion Arizona State in the opening round.
The Cowgirls, who won a school record 43 games, led the league in hitting (.305), slugging (.460), on-base percentage (.409), runs scored (350), hits (466), runs batted in (292), doubles (88), total bases (702) and hit by pitches (81).
In addition to the record number of victories, the Cowgirls also set school records in runs scored, RBI, batters hit, walks (201) and on-base percentage.
In 2015, Landreneau's offense broke or tied four single season records while Piancastelli became the first player in Southland Conference history to be voted as the league's Player, Hitter and Freshman of the Year in the same season.
McNeese posted a .968 fielding percentage that season to rank 36th in the nation. The Cowgirls finished the season ranked fourth in the league with 61 doubles that year as they finished with a 38-15 overall record and a conference championship mark of 19-5.
In 2014, the Cowgirls repeated as conference champions with a 20-6 league record and 40-17 mark overall.
McNeese has led the league in stolen bases the last three years and has ranked in the top 10 in the nation the last two seasons. In 2014, the Cowgirls topped the conference and ranked 19th in the nation with 86 doubles and led the league with a .435 slugging percentage while setting single-season school records in runs scored and on-base percentage while tying records in triples and hit-by-pitches.
Landreneau coached and developed Alanna DiVittorio who broke a combined nine McNeese and Southland Conference records her senior season and was named the league's player and hitter of the year for 2014.
DiVittorio also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors that season to become just the second softball player in school history to earn the prestigious award.