BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU coach Paul Mainieri has earned college baseball’s highest honor, as he has been selected for induction into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Mainieri, who has a 1,122-614-7 record in 30 seasons of collegiate coaching, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on January 3, 2014 at the annual ABCA convention in Dallas. He is No. 10 on the career wins list for active NCAA coaches, and he is one of only six active coaches to have won 1,000 games and an NCAA national championship.
Mainieri will join in the Hall of Fame his father, Demie Mainieri, who coached Miami-Dade North Community College to 1,012 wins and a national title in his 30-year career. Demie and Paul Mainieri will be the only father-son combination in the ABCA Hall of Fame.
“It was never my goal to be selected for this wonderful honor, being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame,” Paul Mainieri said. “When I decided to go into coaching as a young man, it was simply with the purpose of helping young people develop their God-given talents to the fullest, and teaching them how to succeed in baseball and in life. My father taught me this lesson and it has been my guiding light throughout my career. I never thought that 30 years later I would have had the opportunities I have had to coach at four amazing institutions – St. Thomas University, the United State Air Force Academy, Notre Dame and LSU.
“There have been so many people that have been a part of my life and my career along the way; without them, nothing would have been possible. I have had the privilege of coaching so many tremendous young men, have been aided by many wonderful assistant coaches, had so much help from talented support staff, and always experienced the best of administrative support. All of the people that have influenced me and contributed to these programs for the past 30 years are a part of this tremendous honor.”
In six seasons at LSU, Mainieri has guided the Tigers to two College World Series appearances, winning the national championship in 2009. He has also directed LSU to three NCAA Regional titles, two Southeastern Conference championships, three SEC Tournament titles and three SEC Western Division crowns.
Mainieri has a 258-122-2 mark at LSU, and he is the second-winningest coach in Fighting Tiger annals, trailing only Skip Bertman, who was 870-330-3 in 18 seasons (1984-2001).
Mainieri reached a coaching milestone on the second playing date of the 2010 season, as he earned his 1,000th career victory when LSU defeated Centenary, 25-8, on February 20 in Alex Box Stadium.
Prior to becoming LSU’s coach in June 2006, Mainieri directed the Notre Dame program in 12 seasons (1995-2006) to 533 wins, nine conference titles, nine NCAA tournament berths and a College World Series appearance in 2002. He also coached at St. Thomas University in Miami from 1984-88, and at the Air Force Academy from 1989-94.
There have been 260 men inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame, including three of Mainieri’s mentors – his father, Demie, was inducted in 1988; his college coach, Ron Maestri of UNO, was inducted in 1991; and Bertman, who hired him at LSU, was inducted in 2003.
“To be thought of in the same category as so many of my heroes growing up is just overwhelming,” Mainieri said. “To be in the same fraternity with my idol, who happens to also be my father, as well as my phenomenal college coach Ron Maestri and the great Skip Bertman is incomprehensible to me. These people have always been bigger than life to me and I am just humbled by this selection.”
Mainieri will be joined by six other inductees in 2014, including two other active coaches – Jack Leggett of Clemson and Pete Dunn of Stetson. There are only four other active coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame – Mike Martin of Florida State, Mark Marquess of Stanford, Mike Gillespie of UC Irvine and John Anderson of Minnesota.
There are 19 voting members on the ABCA Hall of Fame Committee and a candidate must be named on 75% of the ballots to gain induction.
Mainieri said the devotion of his wife, Karen, and their four children has allowed him to succeed in a demanding profession.
“My family has made many sacrifices along the way in order for me to be able to do my job,” Mainieri explained. “Karen has been the backbone of our family and has supported me in every decision I have ever made about my coaching career. My children – Nick, Alex, Sami and Tommy – have understood that I have had a job to do and have sacrificed having their father at home as often as they would have liked, yet they have relished in the successes of our teams as much as I have. No success I have ever had in my career would have meant anything to me if I didn’t have a wonderful family with whom to share the joy.”