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South Carolina names Mainieri head baseball coach

Athletics in South Carolina

COLUMBIA – Paul Mainieri has been named head coach of the University of South Carolina baseball team, athletic director Ray Tanner announced Tuesday, June 11. He becomes the 31st head coach in the history of the Gamecock baseball team. Mainieri also announced that associate head coach/hitting coach Monte Lee will remain in the role and that pitching coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Rooney and assistant coach John Hendry will join.

“Paul Mainieri is an outstanding coach, teacher, competitor and someone I have known for many years,” Tanner said. “You can judge his success by his many championships, SEC and NCAA, but I see the impact he has had on young men and know he can have the same success here that he has achieved in his career.”

Mainieri, who currently holds the most career wins in Division I (1,505), led LSU to the national championship in 2009 and a runner-up finish in 2017. He has appeared in the College World Series six times, five with LSU and once with Notre Dame, four times in the SEC Championship, six times in the SEC Tournament and 10 times in the NCAA Regional Championship. Mainieri has been named SEC Coach of the Year twice and National Coach of the Year four times (2000, 2008, 2009 and 2015).

“This is a wonderful opportunity to coach a prestigious and storied college baseball program,” Mainieri said. “I coached and competed against Ray Tanner for years and always had the utmost respect for him and the USC program. Now to play on the same team with him and be a part of this program was just something I couldn't pass up. We have a super coaching staff. I feel great and energized; I can't wait to work with the players and bring the University of South Carolina baseball program back where it belongs – to Omaha and the College World Series.”

Mainieri spent 15 seasons at LSU, leading the Tigers to the 2009 College World Series national championship and five CWS appearances. During Mainieri's tenure, LSU won a remarkable 31 team championships, including the 2009 NCAA title, nine NCAA regional championships, five NCAA super regional championships, four Southeastern Conference championships, six SEC tournament titles and six SEC Western Division titles.



In 11 of his 14 full seasons at LSU – the 2020 season was canceled after just 17 games due to COVID-19 – Mainieri led the Tigers to at least one team championship.

Mainieri compiled a record of 1,505-777-8 (.659) in 39 seasons as a college coach at St. Thomas University (1984-88), Air Force (1989-94), Notre Dame (1995-2006) and LSU (2007-21). Mainieri is No. 7 in all-time wins in NCAA Division I baseball and one of only five Division I coaches in NCAA history to win more than 1,500 games and a national championship.

He has led his teams to 46 team championships – 31 with LSU and 15 with Notre Dame. As Notre Dame's head coach from 1995 to 2006, Mainieri led the Irish to one NCAA Super Regional title and one NCAA Regional title, eight regular-season conference championships and five league tournament titles.

Mainieri went 641-285-3 (.692) at LSU and has the fourth-best winning percentage in SEC history. Only former LSU coach Skip Bertman, with an 870-330-3 (.724) record from 1984-2001, current Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello, with a 290-111 (.732) record from 2018-present, and former South Carolina coach Ray Tanner, with a 738-316 (.700) record from 1997-2012, rank ahead of him.

Mainieri's LSU players have been selected to the First-Team All-America 13 times and 25 of his former Tigers have played in Major League Baseball. During Mainieri's tenure, LSU players have been selected in the MLB Draft 90 times.

He served as head coach of the United States Collegiate National Team during the 2018 summer tour, leading Team USA to a 12-3 record that included series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba.

His sincere commitment to daily excellence was recognized in a special way on January 3, 2014 in Dallas, when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Mainieri, a four-time national coach of the year, is joined in the Hall of Fame by his father, Demie Mainieri, who coached Miami-Dade North Community College to 1,012 victories and a national title during his 30-year career. Demie and Paul Mainieri are the only father-son team in the ABCA Hall of Fame.



Mainieri's commitment to academic achievement was exemplified by the Tigers' accomplishments in the classroom, as 103 LSU baseball players graduated during his tenure. Twenty-five of the graduates were players who signed professional contracts before completing their college eligibility and returned to LSU to complete their degrees. In addition, LSU players were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll 151 times during Mainieri's tenure.

He established an active community service role within the baseball program, as the Tigers regularly visit hospitals and schools in the Baton Rouge area. The team has also participated in events such as the ALS Walk, which raises awareness for treatment of Lou Gehrig's disease, and the Buddy Walk, which aims to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Mainieri is personally involved in several philanthropic causes, including Cancer Services of Baton Rouge, the ALS Association, the Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center, the Knock Knock Children's Museum, Prostate Cancer Awareness, and the Kelli Leigh Richmond Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

Mainieri was an honorable four-year college starter, playing one season at LSU, one season for his father at Miami-Dade North Community College and two seasons at the University of New Orleans. In his final season, the second baseman helped the Privateers to two Sun Belt Conference titles and advancement to the 1979 NCAA Tournament.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Florida International University (1980), Mainieri played two seasons in the minor leagues before earning his master's degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in 1982.

Mainieri's coaching career began at his alma mater, Columbus High School in Miami, where he served as an assistant baseball and football coach for three years before becoming the head coach at St. Thomas in the fall of 1982. He also spent his final three years at St. Thomas as athletic director. Mainieri was inducted into the Columbus High School Sports Hall of Fame in October 2009. He is a member of the St. Thomas Athletics Hall of Fame, and the St. Thomas baseball facility was named Paul Demie Mainieri Field in his honor in March 2013.

Born on August 29, 1957, in Morgantown, West Virginia, Mainieri and his wife Karen have four children – Nicholas, Alexandra, Samantha and Thomas – and four grandchildren – Holden, Jonathan, Wren and Rocco.

Assistant Head Coach/Hitting Coach Monte Lee

Lee is no newcomer to Gamecock baseball, having served as an assistant coach for two seasons, most recently as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator the past two seasons. The Gamecocks' offense hit 218 home runs in his two seasons in Columbia, including Ethan Petry's 44, which ranks fifth on Carolina's all-time home run list. Carolina also had 124 stolen bases in two seasons and totaled 952 bases in 2023 and 2024. On offense, Petry was a universally recognized All-American in 2023 and was selected to the All-Raleigh Regional in 2024. Cole Messina was an All-American in 2023, was selected to the All-Region first team, earned All-SEC Tournament honors and was selected to the All-Raleigh Regional team in 2024.



Lee, who has had 21 winning seasons in his 22 years as a full-time NCAA coach, most recently served as the head coach at Clemson University for seven seasons (2016-22), where he posted a 242-136 overall record and led the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament appearances. He also served as the head coach at the College of Charleston (2009-15), leading the Cougars to a Super Regional berth in 2014 and NCAA appearances in 2010 and 2015. He was an assistant at South Carolina from 2003-08, leading USC to College World Series appearances in 2003 and 2004 and four Super Regional appearances.

Pitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator: Terry Rooney

Rooney comes to the Gamecocks from LSU, where he was the Tigers' assistant director of program development and recruiting for the 2024 season. This was his second tenure in Baton Rouge, as he was the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator under Coach Mainieri for two seasons (2007-08), helping the Tigers to a berth in the 2008 College World Series and assembling the nation's top recruiting class that was a key contributor to LSU's 2009 national championship team.

Rooney was the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at Purdue from 2022 to 2023 and at Houston from 2017 to 2021. He was the head coach at UCF from 2009 to 2016, where he was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2014 and led the Knights to a 45-win season and a berth in the NCAA Regional in 2012.

ASSISTANT JOHN HENDRY

Hendry comes to the Garnet and Black after three seasons as the University of Virginia's director of player development. In his three seasons in Charlottesville, Hendry has helped the Cavaliers to three consecutive College World Series appearances, including a trip in 2024 after defeating Kansas State in the Super Regional.

Hendry played pitcher for the University of Indianapolis from 2016 to 2021. He appeared in 34 games and played both as a starting pitcher and reliever for the Greyhounds. After high school, Hendry was selected in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. After completing his playing career, Hendry became an assistant coach for the Academy Park Rangers of the College Summer League in 2021. During his time as a student-athlete in Indianapolis, he worked in the facilities and game day operations department.

Hendry is the son of John Hendry, a longtime MLB executive and current special assistant to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

Anna Harden

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