Former LSU national champion baseball coach Paul Mainieri moves to South Carolina

BATON ROUGE, La. – Paul Mainieri’s life was baseball before that part of it ended sadly with pain in 2021.

But for Mainieri, his baseball life is beginning again at 66 and healthy.

South Carolina is expected to officially name Mainieri its new baseball coach on Tuesday after the South Carolina Board of Trustees approves the hire in rubber stamp fashion, a South Carolina source confirmed to OutKick on Monday night. Baseball America and D1 Baseball first reported Monday that Mainieri was expected to be hired by South Carolina.

Mainieri will be bringing LSU recruiting director Terry Rooney with him as pitching coach. Rooney was Mainieri’s pitching coach at LSU in 2007 and ‘08 and coached pitchers under him at Notre Dame from 2004-06. It was Rooney who helped Mainieri sign the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in 2008 before becoming Central Florida’s head coach.

Paul Mainieri Was Up For Miami Job Last Year

Last year, Miami interviewed Mainieri twice in person in Miami in June for its vacant head coaching job.  But the Hurricanes hired Miami assistant coach J.D. Arteaga, who had been with the Hurricanes for 21 seasons.

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner fired Gamecocks’ coach Mark Kingston after seven seasons on June 3 following a 37-26 season and 13-17 finish in the Southeastern Conference. It was Kingston’s second season in three years in which he finished below .500 in the league. He did not get the program to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. South Carolina has not been to Omaha since Tanner was the coach and won back-to-back national championships in 2010 and ’11.

In the 2009 season, Mainieri won the national championship in just his third season at LSU. He reached the best-of-three national championship series again in 2017, but lost two straight to Florida. Mainieri took the Tigers to the CWS five times in all (2008, ‘09, ’13, ‘15 and ’17) and won four SEC regular season championships and six SEC Tournament crowns. LSU also lost three Super Regionals, including in his last season in 2021.

Mainieri suffered from severe back and neck pain during the 2021 season and retired largely because of that after losing at Tennessee with Omaha on the line. He could barely move in the dugout throughout that season. But he wanted to coach and has been interested in other openings as his back eventually got better. Mainieri has been playing golf regularly the last two years.

After resigning in 2021, Mainieri helped LSU athletic director Scott Woodward hire the new coach – Jay Johnson of Arizona. And Mainieri also left virtually the entire team with which Johnson won the 2023 national title. This included outfielder Dylan Crews – the No. 2 pick in the 2023 MLB draft.

Mainieri led Notre Dame to the 2002 College World Series after turning the program around before joining LSU before the 2007 season. A Miami native, he also coached Air Force from 1989-94 and St. Thomas in Miami from 1983-88. Mainieri played at LSU in 1976, at Miami Dade North Junior College under his father Demie in 1977 and at the University of New Orleans in 1978 and 1979.

Under Mainieri, LSU brought in the best talent in the country, including current major league players such as third baseman Alex Bregman, infielder DJ LeMahieu and pitchers Aaron Nola, Kevin Gausman and Alex Lange.

Anna Harden

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