Sports

Gamecock Baseball Taps Paul Mainieri

Former LSU, Notre Dame coach gets five-year contract …

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The University of South Carolina hired the NCAA’s winningest active coach to lead its baseball program this week – signing former LSU head coach Paul Mainieri to a five-year deal worth $1.3 million a season.

Mainieri, 66, has been out of coaching for the past three seasons. He retired from LSU following the 2021 campaign after leading the Tigers to a 38-23 record. In fifteen seasons in Baton Rouge, Mainieri posted a 641-283-3 (.693) mark – reaching the College World Series (CWS) five times and winning a national championship in 2009.

Prior to coaching at LSU, Mainieri spent twelve seasons at Notre Dame – posting a 533-213-3 (.714) mark. During his tenure in South Bend, the Irish won five conference tournament championships and four conference regular season titles and made one of only three CWS appearances in school history.

In four coaching stops spanning thirty-nine seasons, Mainieri has won 1,505 games – ranking him No. 8 all-time among NCAA coaches, and as mentioned, tops among active coaches.

“Paul Mainieri is an outstanding coach, teacher, competitor and someone that I have known for many years,” South Carolina athletics director and former Gamecock baseball coach Ray Tanner said in announcing Mainieri’s hiring. “One can judge his success through his many championships, SEC and NCAA, but I see the impact he has made on young men and know he can have that same success here as has achieved in his career.”

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Mainieri called the South Carolina job “a wonderful opportunity to coach at a prestigious and tradition-rich college baseball program.”

“I coached and competed against Ray Tanner for years and always had the greatest respect for him and the USC program,” he said. “To now join with him on the same team and become a part of this program was simply something from which I could not walk away. We have a super coaching staff in place, I feel great and energized, I can’t wait to get started working with the players, and let’s get this University of South Carolina baseball program back to where it belongs – in Omaha and in the College World Series.”

Mainieri is the third baseball coach Tanner has hired since he stepped down from the job in 2012 to become South Carolina’s athletics director. Tanner fired former head coach Mark Kingston last week after the Gamecocks were bounced from the NCAA regional.  Kingston posted a 216-155 (.583) mark through seven seasons in Columbia, S.C. Prior to Kingston, Tanner’s hand-picked protégé Chad Holbrook posted a 200-106 (.654) record in five seasons at the helm of the program.

After winning national titles under Tanner in 2010 and 2011 – and reaching the CWS finals in 2012 – South Carolina has failed to advance past the super regional round for the past twelve seasons.

The only program struggling harder in the postseason? Clemson …

Speaking of the Tigers, Mainieri announced he would be retaining former Clemson head coach and current Gamecock assistant Monte Lee as the team’s hitting coach. Joining Lee on Mainieri’s staff will be former LSU pitching coach/ recruiting coordinator Terry Rooney and former Virginia player development director John Hendry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

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The Colonel Top fan June 11, 2024 at 5:41 pm

I guess you have to be that old to have won that many games, but I sure wish they’d have hired someone younger than me…

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