SHREVEPORT, LA -- Centenary College head softball coach Michael Bastian resigned effective Dec. 31 to accept a head coaching position in the Women's Professional Softball League (WPSL), the school announced today.
Bastian leaves the Ladies after spending two years with the program. During his tenure, Centenary posted a record of 43-83 and appeared in the 1997 Trans America Athletic Conference tournament.
"I am excited about the future of Centenary softball and I am sad that I will no longer be a part of the program on the field," Bastian said. "However, I feel the opportunity to coach in the Women's Professional Softball League was too good to pass up. This will give me the chance to coach some of the nation's elite softball players.
"This job will also provide me an avenue to promote the sport of softball at the professional and national level."
Bastian's position with the WPSL will be his second as a coach at the professional level.
The 36-year-old served as a co-head coach of the Storm of the Women's Professional Fastpitch Tour in 1995. That was the inaugural season for what has developed into the six-team WPSL.
After a one-year hiatus Due to the 1996 Summer Olympics, the league resumed for the 1997 season without Bastian, who accepted the head coaching position witli the Centenary Ladies.
"I would like to thank school president Dr. (Kenneth) Schwab for the opportunity to be a member of the Centenary College family and to coach the Centenary Ladies' women's softball team," said Bastian, a 1985 graduate of California State University, Sacramento. "I would also like to thank (Centenary Director of Athletics) Mr. Russ Sharp for his support of me and the Centenary softball program and for the opportunity he allowed to me to be the head coach of the Centenary Ladies' softball team.
"I feel the program has made tremendous strides in a positive direction in the last two years. The addition of stadium lights and enhancement of the Centenary Softball Complex are a direct result of Mr. Sharp's hard work and dedication to the program.
"I also believe I was able to schedule higher quality opponents and recruit student-athletes that Centenary College could be proud of academically and athletically."
During each of Bastian's two years with the Ladies, his teams posted tear"n cumulative grade-point averages that placed them in the top ten in the nation for NCAA Division I programs.
"I appreciate the hard work of Mike Bastian during the past two seasons," Sharp said. "I know that our softball program is on much sounder footing thanks to his efforts, and he will be missed. For Mike, this is one of those times when you are presented with an opportunity that you can't refuse and Coach Bastian has taken advantage of that."
Sharp added, "We hope to name an interim coach before the end of the week."
- 30 -