Paul Mainieri talks about the fan pressure he will face in South Carolina

On June 11 South Carolina Baseball officially named Paul Mainieri the program's next head coach. During his introductory press conference, Mainieri talked about how he will handle the pressure to succeed at the helm of the Gamecocks.

“In baseball, it’s impossible to win every game,” Mainieri said“Nobody is going to win 56-0. We're going to have to get our noses bloodied here and there, but we just have to stay the course. And I know the fans are going to be critical at times.

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“I always said this — when I was at LSU and the criticism was loud — there's only one thing worse than criticism, and that's apathy. There will be no apathy among Carolina fans. There was no apathy among LSU fans. The criticism is not to be taken personally. They want to win and I don't blame them.”

South Carolina baseball fans have high standards. The team has consistently been one of the best in baseball since 1970, boasting 35 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 College World Series appearances, six CWS Finals appearances and two national championships.

High standards are nothing new for Mainieri. He was head coach of the LSU Tigers from 2007 to 2021. During 15 seasons, Mainieri led the program to four SEC regular season titles, six SEC Tournament trophies and one national championship.

He believes he can achieve similar success in South Carolina and is willing to accept criticism if he fails.

“Success will come,” Mainieri said. “I stand before you and tell you that we will win. I have no doubt about that. That is not even up for discussion. We will do it. We will do it. But that does not mean that every step is a step forward. There can be three steps forward and one back; five steps forward and one back, and that is simply the nature of the thing.”

“When things aren't going well, I'm not going to hide in the corner of the team bench. I'm going to be out there on the top step. I'm going to be the lightning rod for the criticism. I want the success to be attributed to the players and our staff. I'm going to be the lightning rod for the criticism.”

Paul Mainieri will replace head coach Mark Kingstonwhom South Carolina fired on June 3. The Gamecocks finished the 2024 season with a 37-26 overall record and a 13-17 record in conference play.

Anna Harden

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