Haughton softball coach Hal Harlan is stepping away from the softball diamond after more than a decade at the Bossier Parish school.
Citing a desire to watch his son, Hunter, play high school baseball, Harlan said Saturday he will become an assistant baseball coach for the Buccaneers, while continuing to patrol the sidelines as an assistant football coach.
Harlan’s assistant coach, Leanne Shanks, has been named as his successor.
“My son will be in the eighth grade, and if I want to see him play high school baseball, I had to make this move when it became available,” Harlan said. “It’s something I’ve contemplated for a couple of years, but decided to do now.”
A graduate of Haughton High and Northwestern State, Harlan compiled a 234-100 record, while annually developing some of the top softball talent in the area. His 2012 catcher, Shyanne McDowell is currently redshirting at UL-Lafayette, a 2013 Super Regional participant. Three members of his current team have committed to play at the next level.
“I think my best memory is the good players and good people I met along the way,” Harlan said. “I always tried to compete and win.”
The Lady Bucs, playoff participants every year in Harlan’s 10½ seasons at the school, advanced to the LHSAA Class 4A state tournament in Sulphur three times during his tenure (’05, ’10 and ’11), losing in the quarterfinals each time. As a Class 5A school, the Lady Bucs have lost in the opening round each of the past two seasons.
Shanks, who played collegiately at Louisiana College, was Harlan’s pitcher/shortstop during his first season at the helm. She inherits a team that went 17-10 and lost to Northshore in the opening round of the 5A state playoffs.
“It’s bittersweet. I’ve always wanted to be a head coach, but it happened faster than I thought it would,” Shanks said. “I’m sad that Hal is leaving, and I know the girls will miss him, but I understand his motivations. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Shanks has a 1-year-old daughter, Jenna Prather.