Head Coach Mark Suire embarks on his fifth campaign with the Centenary College softball team for the 2020 season.
Taking over a program that had not won double-digit games since 2010 and finished above .500 since 2009, Coach Suire had his hands full from the get-go for the 2016. Picked to finish seventh and miss the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, Suire and the Ladies defied the odds and finished fifth in the regular season with a 20-20 record. Five different Ladies received All-Conference accolades, including First Team Utility Player Haley Miller, the first First Team honoree for Centenary in three seasons.
In the SCAC Tournament, pitching set the tone as the Ladies quickly dispatched Southwestern in game one for their first SCAC Tournament win ever. Centenary sent home sixth-seeded Schreiner and third-seeded Dallas to clinch the first winning season since 2009. The Maroon and White made the SCAC Tournament semifinals, falling to top seed and nationally-ranked Texas Lutheran. The Ladies only allowed three runs in their three wins in the Conference Tournament.
During Suire's tenure, Centenary has been third in the SCAC regular season and/or tournament all four years. The Ladies have finished third in the tournament in 3-of-4 years and third in the regular season in 2017 and 2019.
The stats did not lie. Centenary's .312 batting average proved the best in school history, while the Ladies ERA dropped nearly 5 points, from 8.66 in 2015 to 3.69 in 2016. The 23-22 record was a 16-win improvement from 2015, the third-best increase in total wins in NCAA Division III in 2016.
In 2017, Centenary finished third in the SCAC witrh 12 victories, the most in nearly a decade. Kelsey Ancelot grabbed First Team All-Conference honors, while Wendy Gillet led the nation in sacrifice flies.
In 2018, Centenary finished fourth in the SCAC but finished third for the second time in three seasons at the SCAC Tournament. Senior Anna Dunn had a phenomenal final season, becoming the first player to be named First Team All-Region and the First Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches association (NFCA). During the season, she was named an NFCA National Player of the Week after a seven-game span where she went 16-for-26 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. Following the regular season, seven Ladies were named All-Conference with Dunn being named to the First Team.
After starting the 2019 season 1-6 in the month of February, the Ladies turned the season around to finish 18-23 overall and 12-10 in the SCAC - the first time the Ladies finished above .500 in conference play since joining the SCAC. With a more than five ERA non-conference, the Ladies shaved more than two runs off their ERA in SCAC play to finish the season with their best mark in the NCAA Division III era (3.59). The Ladies finished third in the SCAC in both the regular season and the SCAC tournament. Both losses were to nationally-ranked Southwestern in extra-inning heartbreakers, 3-2.
Named the ninth head coach of the Ladies softball program in 2016, Suire joined the Centenary athletic family after more than 23 years of teaching and coaching at the high school level in Louisiana. Most recently from 2013-2015, he served as a teacher and softball coach at Catholic High School in New Iberia. Suire guided the Panthers to the State Playoffs the past two seasons, including a berth in the Regional Playoffs in 2015.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1992, Suire began his career with stints at Catholic High School (1992-1993) and St. Edmund High School (1993-1995) as a teacher and coach in football, basketball, and baseball. In 1995, he took over a softball program at Abbeville High School that had only one win in the two previous seasons. In just three years as head coach, Suire led the Wildcats to the Quarterfinals of the State Tournament for the first time in school history.
Suire served as a teacher and the softball coach at Delcambre High School from 2001-2013. After taking over a program in the second year of existence, he tallied a 227-101 record in 12 seasons with the Panthers, including five State Semifinal Appearances and a State Championship. From 2006-2010, his teams at Delcambre High School won more postseason games (17) than any program in Louisiana.
During his high school coaching career, Suire helped implement policies and procedural guidelines to ensure academic and athletic success for his teams. Numerous players under his guidance went on to participate in collegiate softball and even received athletic scholarship offers. He also served as President of the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association from 2011-2013.