Those of us who love Ragin' Cajuns softball coach Michael Lotief have plenty of reasons why.

It's because he's had the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at an elite level for years.

It's because he's done things the right way.

It's because of the performance of his teams, in and out of the classroom.

It's because of his relationship with his players.

It's because he's never gotten away from his Cajun roots.

And, it's because he's done it while fighting incredible personal odds.

And, for all those reasons, the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association has named the Cajuns' coach the recipient of the 2016 Donna Newberry "Perseverance" Award.

The award recognizes an NFCA member coach who has demonstrated extraordinary strength of will and character in the fight to overcome a physical, mental or social adversity that presented an additional challenge to the already demanding job of a coach. The award was created in honor of longtime Muskingum College coach and 2008 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee Donna Newberry, who died in November 2010 following a battle with breast cancer.

Over the years, Coach Mike has battled cancer, the effects of radiation, and, over the past two seasons, a severe throat infection that, in 2015, caused him to wear a backpack while coaching in order to get his nutrition.

In the 2016 season, he continued to fight, coaching his team, making practices and doctor visits, and even keeping speaking engagements despite a trachea.

We are sure there are those who will be amazed at what he has been able to accomplish with an underfunded program, despite all the odds.

We are sure there are those will be further amazed that he's done it despite his health issues.

While we may be amazed, we are not surprised.

It's who Michael Lotief is.