It didn’t take long for the LSU Baseball teams Head Coach, Paul Mainieri, to find his niche here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mainieri was lured from coaching at Notre Dame and signed on officially with LSU on June 28, 2006. Mainieri replaced “Smoke”; Laval who was fired in early June, 2006 by Athletic Director, Skip Bertman (former LSU Head Baseball Coach). Laval’s firing was based on the fact that the team did not advance to the NCAA tournament, a first since 1988. Under Bertman’s reign as Head Coach the Tigers brought home 5 National Championships.
Mainieri was chosen as the best candidate to lead to team back to Omaha and it also garnered other titles, such as being named “Coach of the Year”; by Rivals.com on July 1, 2008. Although the Tigers didn’t come home with a national championship this year, they proved that they have what it takes to get to Omaha and they will definitely be in contention for the national championship again in the 2009 season.
The 2008 LSU baseball team had a very dramatic season, a slow start and then several come from behind wins that led to a 23-game winning streak that became the best in the nation. The Tigers won the SEC Western Division, the SEC tournament championship and the NCAA Super Regional Championship before heading to the National Championships in Omaha, NE.
The LSU Tigers ended the 2008 season ranked No. 6 by Rivals.com, Baseball America, ESPN/USA, and Collegiate Baseball. The season was highlighted with a 23-game winning streak that wasn’t broken until the NCAA Super Regional Championships when UC-Irvine knocked the Tigers down in Game 1. They bounced right back, winning the next two games and advanced to the College World Series. The Tigers finished 5th in Omaha which was the highest ranking for the team since the 2000 squad won the national championship.
Mainieri is no stranger to LSU baseball. In fact, he played baseball here his freshman year of college. Mainieri played the outfield and lettered his first year on the LSU baseball team.
Although, he now plays a different role as Head Coach of the LSU Baseball team, we still think he is well deserving of this latest honor of “Coach of the Year”;. Mainieri was quoted as saying, “It’s such an honor to be named the National Coach of the Year by Rivals.com, which does such a great service for college baseball,”
See you in Omaha next year, Coach Mainieri!