North DeSoto’s Lori McFerren receives huge honor

Jimmy Watson
Shreveport Times
North DeSoto pitcher Emma Callie Delafield, coach Lori McFerren and shortstop Bayli Simon display their Class 4A softball championship rings.

It’s not often a stadium or field is named after a living individual.

But North DeSoto’s Lori (Beard) McFerren earned that honor after 25 years serving at her school and delivering more district titles than you can shake a stick at along with three LHSAA Class 4A state championships.

After a unanimous Thursday night vote of the DeSoto Parish School Board, the softball field where she built the Lady Griffins into a statewide powerhouse will forever be known as Lori Beard Stadium, or something similar. That decision will be made later. 

"What an unbelievable day! The honor of having my name on a field where so many great athletes played is hard to put in words," McFerren said. "The success and longevity of the program is due completely to every Lady Griffin softball player, the love from my family, the top assistant coaches in the state, and unwavering support from DeSoto Schools. I am so honored and humbled to have coached Lady Griffins for 25 years. I will cherish the relationships with the girls and memories of our experiences for the rest of my life."

"I would like to thank Superintendent (Clay) Corley and the members of DeSoto Parish School Board for this great honor. 

North DeSoto coach Lori McFerren (right) and her mother, Nelda Beard, sport state softball championship rings. Beard is wearing McFerren's ring from 2015.

The veteran coach is considering her maiden name to signify following in the footsteps of her father, the late Ronny G. Beard, the longtime coach at Homer High School. The football field there carries the moniker Ronny G. Beard Memorial Stadium.

McFerren won 16 district titles, including six straight in District 1-4A, before hanging up her cleats and alleged late arrivals at the end of last season. 

McFerren went 87-10 during a three-year stretch as the Lady Griffins’ boss. The 2017 Times’ selection as the Richard Lary Coach of the Year saw her final team advance to the state semifinals last season and finish 17-10 overall. 

Since 2000, the Lady Griffins have made eight state tournament appearances falling in the quarterfinals and semifinals two times apiece before capturing the 2015 state crown, the first for McFerren, who followed her late father into coaching. She dedicated that first title win to him. 

McFerren played softball, basketball and was head cheerleader at Homer.

Twitter: @JimmyWatson6