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ANIBAL ORTIZ , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Marina coach Shelly Luth congratulates Desiree Hagberg on her catch in the first inning against Canyon in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs Thursday.

Former Marina coach Shelly Luth inducted into CIF Hall of Fame

STAFF WRITER

Shelly Luth, who coached Marina High softball for 30 years before retiring in 2014, was named to the 33rd induction class of the CIF Southern Section Hall of Fame.

Luth, who spent 23 years as head coach and has amassed a career record of 476-250-3, was among nine educators honored at a luncheon at The Grand Conference Center in Long Beach on Oct. 12.

“It’s an amazing honor,” said Luth, who was elected to the Orange County Softball Hall of Fame in 2013. “The journey has been so amazing. I’m so thankful and appreciative to have been able to make the relationships I’ve had with the coaches and students.”

“I certainly didn’t do it myself,” Luth continued. “I sat on the bucket next to (current Marina athletics director and former assistant coach) Michelle Spencer for 17 years. The people that have mentored me and guided me and helped me are also a part of this award.”

Though Luth guided her teams to three CIF championships, 11 league championships and qualified for the postseason 22 times in her 23-year tenure, her primary concern was developing strong, educated and high-character young women.

Luth mentored dozens of future Division I and even professional softball players. Some notable alums include Sandra Simmons, Tera Blanco, Marcy Crouch, Michelle Fuzzard, Krystal Heinle, Mariah Nogueira, Ari Tedesco and Steffany Stenglien.

“The students you get to see, come in at 14 and leave at 18 as young women, going to college. It’s awesome,” Luth said.

“It’s not just about playing the game. With female athletes, it’s about life skills,” Luth said. “How to deal with adversity, how to deal with tough situations, how to have confidence and dig down deep. It’s about teaching these applicable things that they will have to use later in life.”

Luth, also a former athletic director at Marina, said she’s also grateful for the support of her two sons, Jared, 30, and Shane, 26, who were practically born and raised on Marina’s softball field.

She missed Shane’s graduation at Long Beach State because she was coaching Marina in a second round CIF game of her last year. Shane insisted she coach.

“He told me, ‘Mom, you go play your game,’” Luth said. “That’s the kind of support I have that’s allowed me on the field, to be successful, to take the time to build programs, to build students and to build that confidence in women to go on and be successful people.”

Contact the writer: mfader@ocregister.com


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