Haughton, Evangel high schools make significant softball coaching moves

·3 min read

Longtime Haughton softball coach Leanne Prather resigned from her position with the Lady Bucs and will join the North DeSoto Lady Griffins as an assistant coach for Tim Whitman, her former coach at Louisiana College.

Prather began as a Haughton assistant in 2009 and was the coach the past nine seasons. She posted a 128-102 record while leading her team to seven playoff appearances.

“It was a tough decision but ultimately I feel I really want to coach the game without some of the extra responsibilities that come with head coaching,” Prather said. “Although, I am leaving the school I have always called home, I am excited to start something new.”

Prather wasn't the only softball move.

Evangel Christian Academy coach Baylee Spencer has hired Louisiana Titans founder Gerral Layton as an assistant coach. Layton served as a volunteer assistant coach at Calvary Baptist the past two seasonsm helping the Lady Cavaliers to a pair of LHSAA Division IV state titles.

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“Gerral has a great reputation within the softball world,” Spencer said. “This illustrates how much the Evangel administration is committed to softball.”

Layton’s career spans 18 years with the Titans, a travel ball organization that sponsors 23 softball teams and seven baseball teams. Six of the softball teams are in south Louisiana and two in Texas. Spencer said the Titans have won numerous state and national championships, and Layton has seen more than 50 of his players advance to the collegiate level.

The Haughton head softball coach talks to her players before the start of their game against Southside.
The Haughton head softball coach talks to her players before the start of their game against Southside.

Haughton principal David Haynie and athletics director Jason Brotherton are searching for a replacement for Prather, who grew up in Haughton. Interested coaches can submit applications to David.haynie@bossierschools.org or Jason.brotherton@bossierschools.org through Wednesday.

“It does sadden me to leave it. One of my goals after graduating college was to be the head coach at my alma mater,” Prather said. “I will always cherish my years at Haughton and the memories and relationships that I have made.  Coach Whitman presented me with the opportunity to work with him, and I know he will put me to work doing what I love, which is teaching the game of softball. He has high expectations for his program, and I see it as an opportunity to grow as a coach and build new relationships.”

Prather enters a North DeSoto program that has won the past two LHSAA Class 4A state softball titles under Whitman and has the majority of its starters returning next season. The team hit more than 100 home runs this past season, one of the top marks in the state.

“Leanne understands our system and adds another high-level instructor to our program,” Whitman said. “The chance to add a quality coach, like Leanne, is always good for the program.”

Having the elementary school on the campus with the high school was another lure for Prather.

“I will be able to attend more of our daughter’s activities,” she said. “It’s a good move for our family for several reasons.”

Jimmy Watson covers Shreveport-Bossier area sports. Email him at jwatson@shreveporttimes.com and follow him on Twitter @JimmyWatson6.

This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Haughton, Evangel high schools make significant softball hiring moves