BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU baseball hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez has left his position in order to pursue other professional opportunities, head coach Paul Mainieri announced Wednesday. Sanchez, 32, plans to retire from coaching for a career in business.
“It is with a great deal of sadness that I have accepted the resignation from our staff of Javi Sanchez,” Mainieri said. “Javi has decided to change his career path and exit the coaching profession in order to enter the world of business. I’m very sorry to see Javi leave because he has been such a big part of the success we have had at LSU in our baseball program over the last seven years. His dedication, hard work, and loyalty to our players and staff have been at the highest level possible. His ability as a recruiter has resulted in several outstanding classes, and our rosters have been filled with high quality players that chose LSU due in large part to the relationship they developed with Javi. His infectious personality will be missed by everyone.”
Sanchez, a native of Miami, Fla., worked on the LSU staff for seven seasons, helping lead the Tigers to the 2009 national championship, three College World Series appearances, two SEC championships and five SEC Tournament titles. Sanchez worked as LSU’s volunteer coach during the 2008 season, and he was promoted to full-time assistant coach later that year.
“Every day I passionately worked with a staff of people I love and respect,” Sanchez said. “This program has a premier leader in Coach Mainieri. I had the privilege to not only play for him, but work alongside him for seven seasons. My daily focus was always to uphold the championship tradition at LSU and to be a piece of his legacy. Our players have been a joy to recruit and work with throughout the years. They provided my existence as a coach, and I will always value the imprint they have left on my life personally and professionally.”
The 2014 LSU hitters under Sanchez’s direction finished in the Top 5 in the SEC in 10 different offensive categories and struck out only 274 times, by far the fewest strikeouts by a league team. The Tigers were third in the conference in batting average, second in slugging percentage and third in RBI. LSU batted .348 in its final 12 games, scoring 106 runs and launching 16 homers as the Tigers surged to the SEC Tournament title and an NCAA Top 8 National Seed.
Sancez guided an LSU lineup in 2013 that led the SEC in hits (722), doubles (128) and total bases (1,023). He coached all-American first baseman Mason Katz, the conference leader with 16 homers and 70 RBI, and shortstop Alex Bregman, who was named the National Freshman of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and the Brooks Wallace Award winner.
Sanchez coached the nation’s leading hitter in 2012, as outfielder Raph Rhymes batted .431 and earned first-team all-America and SEC Player of the Year honors. The 2012 LSU lineup led the SEC in runs scored (397) and RBI (368).
“As a hitting coach, his work was vital as he always had our team in the upper echelon of teams offensively in the SEC,” Mainieri said. “Some of his pupils led the country in hitting and led the SEC in home run. His coaching of the catchers helped develop Micah Gibbs and Tyler Ross into outstanding leaders of our teams while resulting in them becoming high professional draft choices. Along the way, his diverse contributions helped us win 19 different championships over the last seven years, including three trips to Omaha and, of course, the national championship in 2009.”
Sanchez supervised an LSU lineup in 2009 that produced some of the best offensive numbers in Fighting Tiger history. LSU finished the season No. 2 in the nation in hits (783) and No. 3 in runs (575), and the Tigers were No. 1 in the SEC in hits, runs, walks and total bases.
Sanchez came to LSU after playing four seasons of minor league baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization. He was the Twins’ 14th-round draft choice in 2004 as a catcher after playing four seasons (2001-04) under Mainieri at Notre Dame, where he helped lead the Irish to the 2002 College World Series as the starting shortstop. Sanchez, the team captain of the Irish squad during his senior season, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame in 2004.
Sanchez said his experience at LSU made a profound impact upon his life.
“The expectations of the greatest fans in college baseball always motivated me to achieve greatness,” Sanchez said. “It's been an honor to serve this program and the LSU community. Clearly, I am fulfilled with our progress and achievements during my time at LSU. However, my heart has led me in a different direction, and I'm ready to face new challenges that lie ahead. This was a personal decision made in the best interest of my family and my career as a professional moving forward.”
“On a personal basis,” Mainieri said, “it is hard for me to say goodbye to a person with whom I have spent 11 years in baseball – four years while he played for me at Notre Dame and seven years as a very loyal assistant coach at LSU. Javi has tremendous management and people skills, and he has developed trustworthy relationships throughout the country. I’m certain he will enjoy great success in his future endeavors.
“I join everyone in the LSU community in wishing Javi, his wife Michelle, and their baby, Valentina, nothing but happiness and success going forward in his new ventures. We will always be grateful for his commitment to the LSU baseball program.”