Amy Luzader-Diaz, Prairie View's new softball coach, is thrilled to be involved in the sport again.
As a senior, Diaz helped Bastrop High to a Class 5A state runner-up finish in 1992. She was also part of Morehouse's 1990 Dixie Belles state championship team.
Although she has no prior coaching experience, she was able to enlist an assistant coach with four LHSAA State Tournament appearances on his resume. Jim Luzader, Diaz's father, was the head softball coach at Bastrop in the mid-1990s.
"Having Dad and Chad (Harper) here has been a huge help," Diaz said.
Prairie View actually began practice before its coaching vacancy was filled. When approached about the job, Diaz practically accepted on the spot.
"I got a call from someone wanting to know if I would consider coaching softball," Diaz said. "Two days later, I had an interview. I was hired on a Monday morning and we had practice that afternoon."
Although she was disconnected from softball for several years, Diaz says she still feels at home on the diamond.
"I'm excited to be out here. Softball is second nature to me," said Diaz, who attended Prairie View in elementary and junior high. "I had some of the best coaches in Mr. Steve (Katz) and my dad."
Diaz has high expectations for the Lady Spartans, who open the season in the Riverfield Tournament on Friday, July 26.
"The girls are looking very, very good," Diaz said. "I have no doubt in my mind that we're going to state this year. My goal is to bring it home."
Diaz says her transition back into softball has been smoother than she could have imagined.
"This is a great group of kids," Diaz said. "They're all so respectful. The parents are awesome. I couldn't ask for anything better, especially starting out."
Prairie View was 22-8 last season.
"They're pretty close to as good as we were when I was their age," Diaz joked. "We have two star pitchers with Bailey (Ryder) and Jeri (Harper) and an exceptional catcher (Erika Guerrero)."
Diaz has been impressed by the Lady Spartans' work ethic.
"They were going out and practicing without a coach. That's how dedicated they are," Diaz said. "They just want to play. They're not ready to go home. Everyday, we have somebody staying after practice and working on their own."
A graduate of ULM, Diaz majored in toxicology with a minor in chemistry.
Amy and husband Ross Diaz are the parents of a son, Nicolaus, who is entering the first grade at Prairie View. She also has a step-daughter, Ariel, and a step-grandson, Eli.