University of Louisiana at Lafayette softball Head Coach Gerry Glasco dons a Ragin' Cajuns cap during a press conference announcing his hiring Monday, November 20, 2017 at the UL-Lafayette Alumni Center in Lafayette, La.

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK

Less than three weeks after terminating the longtime head softball coach, University of Louisiana-Lafayette officials have picked Gerald Glasco to lead the team.

Glasco was lured from Auburn University, where he had been hired as associate coach just two months ago. Glasco did not take questions following a press conference Monday at the university.

Glasco will replace his fired predecessor, Mike Lotief, who was forced out Nov. 1 amid allegations that he verbally and psychologically abused student athletes. Lotief has said the university fired him in retaliation for his exposure of gender discrimination within the athletic department.

Athletic Director Bryan Maggard said the university launched its search immediately after Lotief’s termination. The job opening generated a “tremendous amount of interest,” Maggard said, adding that he expects the Ragin’ Cajuns to contend for national championships under Glasco.

Maggard cited Glasco’s abilities as a recruiter and relationship builder, in addition to his history of coaching on winning teams, as the reasons for offering him the job.

The recent controversy involving Lotief has inflamed the university’s softball community, with more than 20 former players issuing statements supporting Lotief. A group of more than 60 self-described “Ragin’ Cajun supporters” penned an open letter faulting the university immediately after the firing.

Asked about players potentially transferring to different schools, Maggard replied “I’m expecting them all to stay.”

It was one of few comments at the upbeat event specifically addressing the challenges the school faces in recovering from controversy. Glasco received a standing ovation, and Maggard presented Glasco’s wife, Vickie, with roses.

Glasco said he started meeting with players on Sunday night.

“I told the girls, they didn’t choose me, but I chose them,” Glasco said, referring to his new players. “I cannot wait to get to know them, and for them to get to know me.”

Glasco agreed to a five-year contract with a $170,000 base salary, with an additional $30,000 in annual deferred salary that is payable if Glasco remains with the university through the end of the contract. He is also eligible for more than $60,000 per year in incentives. The hiring is subject to approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

Glasco is moving from one program mired in problems to another, as Auburn is dealing with its own scandal involving softball coaches. Head Coach Clint Myers and his son Corey Myers, who was an associate coach, stepped down this year after players accused Clint Myers of ignoring his son’s sexual relationships with team members.

The new coach came to Auburn from Texas A&M University, where he was associate head softball coach for three years. Glasco claims credit for restructuring the Texas A&M offense and setting eight school offensive records in SEC conference play, according to his resume. Glasco was also head coach of the Houston Scrap Yard Dawgs of the National Pro Fastpitch league last year, when the team took the league batting title.

As hitting coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at University of Georgia, Glasco helped build teams that went 292-92 during his six-year tenure. Glasco left Georgia for Texas A&M in 2014.

Follow Ben Myers on Twitter, @blevimyers.