LSU’s Paul Mainieri to enter ABCA Hall of Fame Friday
Paul Mainieri (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of LSU Sports Information)
LSU coach Paul Mainieri will be inducted Friday night into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas as part of the annual ABCA convention.
In receiving the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a college baseball coach, Mainieri becomes just the 10th Southeastern Conference coach to enter the ABCA Hall of Fame and the second from LSU. Skip Bertman, who led the Tigers to five national titles during his 18-season tenure (1984-2001), was inducted in 2003.
Mainieri, a three-time National Coach of the Year, 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 Mainieri and Paul Mainieri will be the only father-son combination in the ABCA Hall of Fame.
Paul Mainieri is also only the fourth Louisiana coach to enter the Hall of Fame, joining Bertman, Wilbert Ellis of Grambling State (inducted 2007) and Ron Maestri of UNO (inducted 1991). Mainieri played for Maestri at UNO in 1978 and 1979.
Mainieri has a 1,179-625-7 record in 31 seasons of collegiate coaching at St. Thomas University (1984-88), Air Force (1989-94), Notre Dame (1995-2006) and LSU (2007-present). 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.
“It was never my goal to be selected for this wonderful honor, being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame,” Mainieri said in a news release. “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 31 years later I would have had the opportunities I have had to coach at four amazing institutions — St. Thomas University, the United States 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,” Mainieri said. “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 seven seasons at LSU, Mainieri has guided the Tigers to three College World Series appearances, winning the national championship in 2009. He also has directed LSU to four NCAA Regional titles, two Southeastern Conference championships, four SEC Tournament titles and four SEC Western Division crowns.
Mainieri has a 315-133-2 mark at LSU, and he is the second-winningest coach in Fighting Tiger annals, trailing only Bertman, who was 870-330-3 in his 18 seasons from 1984-2001.
“Paul Mainieri is one of the finest college baseball coaches in the country,” Bertman said in a university release. “This award, the ABCA Hall of Fame, is just perfect for Paul. He has been an ABCA member for over 30 years and, of course, has produced and excelled on the field at four different universities. At all times his teams have had wonderful attitudes, and Paul has always taught his players more than just baseball. It is a pleasure for me to watch Paul work his craft at LSU.”
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.
Friday’s induction ceremony will increase the number of members to 267, including Demie Mainieri, Maestri and Bertman, three of the most influential men in Paul Mainieri’s life.
“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 Friday by six other inductees, 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 percent of the ballots to gain induction.