BATON ROUGE, La. – 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 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. “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. 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.”
“When I think of Coach Mainieri, the word ‘integrity’ immediately comes to mind,” said LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva. “He runs his program in a first-class manner, and he and his players are great representatives of our University and the entire state of Louisiana. His teams win championships while excelling in the classroom and making an impact in our community. Everyone at LSU joins me in congratulating Coach Mainieri as he enters the ABCA Hall of Fame.”
In seven seasons at LSU, Mainieri has guided the Tigers to three College World Series appearances, winning the national championship in 2009. He has also 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. “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.”
“Paul Mainieri is a true Hall of Famer,” Maestri said. “His players graduate. His players win. Both Coach Mainieri and his players are involved in the community. Coach is a true gentleman who represents LSU in a very positive manner.”
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% 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.”
Quotes on LSU Coach Paul Mainieri’s Induction into the ABCA Hall of Fame
Joe Alleva, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics
“When I think of Coach Mainieri, the word ‘integrity’ immediately comes to mind. He runs his program in a first-class manner, and he and his players are great representatives of our University and the entire state of Louisiana. His teams win championships while excelling in the classroom and making an impact in our community. Everyone at LSU joins me in congratulating Coach Mainieri as he enters the ABCA Hall of Fame.”
Skip Bertman, LSU Hall of Fame Coach and former Director of Athletics
“Paul Mainieri is one of the finest college baseball coaches in the country. 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.”
Ron Maestri, Hall of Fame Coach at the University of New Orleans and Mainieri’s college coach
“Paul Mainieri is a true Hall of Famer. His players graduate. His players win. Both Coach Mainieri and his players are involved in the community. Coach is a true gentleman who represents LSU in a very positive manner.”
Jim Hendry, former Chicago Cubs general manager and Creighton head coach; coached with Mainieri at Columbus High School in Miami in the 1980s
“I’ve known Paul throughout his entire career, and he is the epitome of what a college coach should be. His players get better and maximize their talents on the field under his tutelage, but more importantly, the instruction and inspiration he gives them encourages them to become better young men. He makes a tremendous impact upon his players in all facets of their lives, and that’s what makes him special. Any father would be proud to say that his son played for Paul Mainieri.”
Randy Bush, Chicago Cubs assistant general manager and Mainieri’s former teammate at UNO
“I’ve known Paul and his family for most of my life. Paul was destined to be a baseball coach early on, as he learned from the best -- his Hall of Fame father, Demie. Over his 31-year coaching career, Paul has had the opportunity to impact hundreds of fortunate young men, who have learned firsthand about such values as teamwork, commitment, hard work and loyalty. He taught the very same lessons that he learned from his Dad and simply continued to pass them on to others. Paul Mainieri as a head coach embodies all that one could hope to instill in his players -- to be successful on the field and, even more importantly, to succeed at the game of life off the field.”
Ray Tanner, athletic director at South Carolina and two-time national championship baseball coach
“Congratulations to Coach Mainieri for his induction into the ABCA Hall of Fame. He’s a great coach, he’s a motivator, and he’s a dynamic teacher. It’s been a tremendous experience getting to know him and competing against him over the years. We developed a great relationship built on respect, and I know he has similar relationships with coaches all over the country. Coach Mainieri is a class act and very deserving of this honor.”