LSU hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez has decided to step down from his position with the Tigers and pursue other opportunities outside of coaching. LSU announced the news Wednesday by press release, and Sanchez confirmed it to TSD by phone.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri was not available for comment as he’s attending his daughter’s wedding, according to his voicemail.
Sanchez spent seven seasons at LSU, joining the staff for the 2008 season as a volunteer assistant. He was promoted to full-time hitting coach in June 2008.
Sanchez said this was completely his decision, and he added that moving his family back to his hometown of Miami was the primary reason behind it.
“Looking 20 years from now, I don’t think I’d be fulfilled if I stayed in it,” Sanchez said. “There have been just too many days of leaving the house, and the daughter’s asleep, coming home, and the daughter’s asleep. I feel like I’m the one that had to wake up.”
Sources have also confirmed that Andy Cannizaro is expected to be Sanchez's replacement as the LSU hitting coach. The deal is not yet officially done, but Cannizaro is the first choice to take over the position.
Cannizaro prepped at St. Paul's in Mandeville before going to Tulane for college. He was a seventh-round selection of the New York Yankees in 2001 and reached the big leagues through their system in 2006. He also had a stint with the Tampa Bay Rays, but has returned to the Yankees as a New Orleans-based scout, which is his current position.
As for Sanchez, he said he has not lined up a next step professionally, but that it will be outside of coaching. Instead of going through the process of finding a new job while doubling as the Tigers’ assistant, he opted to resign before getting that underway.
“Because of my allegiance with Paul and the program, I didn’t want to actively pursue other jobs and have it interrupt my recruiting schedule,” Sanchez said. “I thought the program would suffer too much. That’s a vulnerable position, but I’m confident I can look myself in the mirror and know that I’m doing it right for a guy that’s been good to me, a program that’s been good to me…
“Ideally I’d like to get into an industry where I can use my experience and the contacts I’ve built up,” Sanchez said. “I’ll use that reputation I have, especially with people in Miami, and try to leverage that into the next industry. I just have to take a step back and close this chapter.”
Sanchez played for Mainieri at Notre Dame from 2001-04. After spending four seasons in the minor leagues with the Minnesota Twins organization, Sanchez rejoined forces with Mainieri at LSU.
In Sanchez’s first season (2009) full-time with the Tigers, he led a lineup that finished No. 2 nationally in hits (783) and No. 3 in runs (575) en route to a national championship. This past season, the LSU hitters finished in the top five in the SEC in 10 different offensive categories, striking out a league-lowest 274 times.
Sanchez also doubled as the Tigers’ recruiting coordinator, helping LSU reel in some of the nation’s best recruiting classes each cycle. His class in 2014 may have been one of the best yet, with players like Mac Marshall, Greg Deichmann, Jake Latz and Alex Lange expected to contribute early in their careers.
“It is with a great deal of sadness that I have accepted the resignation from our staff of Javi Sanchez,” Mainieri said in a release. “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.
Sanchez said Mainieri encouraged him to stay with the program, but that he ultimately understood why he’d made this choice.
“It was emotional for both of us,” Sanchez said. “We talked for three hours one night, then three hours again the next morning. I think he understood. He loves and respects me enough to know how convicted and at peace I am with my decision.”
Sanchez plans to continue recruiting for the Tigers through the end of the month, or at least until the new coach starts.
Javi Sanchez resigns from LSU Baseball
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