Lori McFerren, North DeSoto High School Softball Coach
- High School: Homer High School
- College: Northeast Louisiana University
- Graduate School: Louisiana Tech University
- In her 23rd season as North Desoto Head Softball Coach
- Father, Ronny Beard was a long-time teacher, coach and administrator at Homer High School, where the football field is now named after him. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
- 2015 LSCA Class 4A Coach of the Year
- 2016 LSCA Class 4A Coach of the Year
- In her 23 years as North DeSoto's head softball coach, the Lady Griffins have won 15 district championships and have only had one losing season. Mcferren's teams have been to state six times and have brought home two state championships.
- Currently 20-3 overall and 6-0 in district play, ranking them 5th in the state, 19th in the nation
- Two Lady Griffins selected for this year's LHSCA All-Star Softball Game: pitcher, EC Delafield, a Northwestern State signee and shortstop, Bayli Simon, a Louisiana Tech Signee.
What inspired you to get into coaching? Is it something you always wanted to do?
"No, I actually was an accountant. I was an auditor during the day, and I taught accounting at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) at night. My parents were both in education, and my dad was a business teacher and a long-time coach at Homer. But, I decided I'm not going to be poor, and so instead I got into accounting. Once I had been doing it for a few years I decided that I did want to go into teaching, so I got my masters from Louisiana Tech to teach college courses. But then I had my first child and chose my family over my career. That's when I decided I would teach business classes in high school. I got my alternate certificate, and I got my first job at a Richwood Middle School. I lived in DeSoto parish though, so when North DeSoto had a job opening the next year I took it. It was actually a GED program, and I took it just to get into school system. I was here about a week or so and was approached by the principal to see if I would be the assistant softball coach, because they knew about my father. I played softball and basketball in high school, so I agreed to help. The head coach came to me a week later and asked if I wanted to be head coach, and he became my assistant. My intentions all along were just to be a teacher, but with my heritage I guess it was just in my blood to coach. I've been the head coach at north DeSoto ever since."
Your team is seeking a third-straight Class 4A State Softball Championship. With a team that has been so successful the past couple of years, what is the key to keeping them motivated?
"You have to find out what your team is like. You have to know if they're the type of team where you can talk about success and build upon that, or if they're the type that has to make their own way of reaching success without drawing on the past. This team is a very young with only two juniors and seniors, and we start 14 sophomores. It's hard when there are not a lot of kids who have been there and done that. So, you use the past tradition and expectations to set your goals with them."
Usually we always hear about coaches impacting the lives of players, but more often than not it is the student-athletes that leave a lasting impact on the coach. How do your players at North DeSoto impact your life?
"Having coached for over twenty years, my life has been impacted by my students a lot.Coaching can be a lonely profession. I love it and wouldn't change it for anything in the world, but it's a lonely profession. You don't really have time to go out there and make a life outside of the fence so the girls are a big part of your life. They're like family. For my husband and my two kids, softball is their life too. One thing my students and my athletes do is hold me accountable as a mentor and as an example to do the right thing for them and be the right kind of person I need to be. I do fail, but they have taught me to be accountable and see those mistakes and go forward. They make you try to be a better person for them. As far as my softball team, my girls are very hardworking, dedicated, self-motivated and have a lot of knowledge of the game, so they're constantly teaching me something in that aspect as well."
As a veteran coach, what advice would you give a young coach?
"I worry about the young coaches and everything they have to face. The game is changing, but you must stay true to yourself. You're not going to be perfect. You're going to make mistakes, but don't second guess yourself. Don't let others determine your self-worth. Always, always try to do right by the child. But, you must also remember that it's a team sport, not an individual sport, so you have to make decisions based on the team, not the individual. Also, it is important you find someone you can trust, a mentor that you can ask questions."
"But for me, I have been very fortunate. I have awesome athletes and great assistant coaches. My dad always told me you're only as good as your athletes and your assistant coaches, so you always have to make sure you let your assistant coaches coach."