ESPN1420 has learned that Louisiana softball coach Michael Lotief has resigned, one day before the 11th ranked Cajuns' season opener.

However, saying he would not leave his team in the lurch, Lotief has agreed to stay on as an unpaid volunteer assistant coach.

Lotief has been with the UL softball program since 2001.  He served as co-head coach with his wife Stefni since 2003 and was named the head coach when Stefni resigned after the 2012 season to spend more time with family.

Lotief becomes the third softball coach to leave the program since the end of last season.  In addition to Stefni Lotief, associate head coach Joy Webre-LeBlanc resigned because of family issues in December.

Lotief hired junior college coach Josh Johnson to replace Stefni Lotief and recently hired Megan Granger, who played for the Cajuns last season as a replacement for Webre-LeBlanc.  Neither Johnson nor Granger have ever coached in a game at the Division I level.

Lotief's resignation came as a shock to the Cajuns' softball family as he was at practice yesterday and had spoken with the media on Wednesday as a precursor to the season.

The Cajuns open the season at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon against Lipscomb in the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic.

UL Athletics Director Scott Farmer could not be reached for comment.  It is unknown whether the Cajuns will go through the season with the two coaches in place, hire an interim head coach or hire a full time head coach.