Paul Mainieri, in his third season at LSU, led the Tigers to the 2009 NCAA Division I national championship with an 11-4 win over Texas at the College World Series. LSU finished the season winning 15 of 16 games and didn’t commit an error in five of six games played at the CWS.
His 2009 club also won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title and captured the SEC conference tournament for the second consecutive year.
“This team is a living example that if you dream it, you can do it,” Mainieri said about his 2009 NCAA Championship squad. “There was no doubt in their minds from the first day we got together in August that it was very possible that we were going to have this day together as national champions. I can vividly remember the first team meeting in August on the first day of school when we talked about winning the national championship. We believed it, but it was a long way away. We knew that we were going to have a lot of challenges if we were going to get to Omaha, so we didn’t think about Omaha. We just thought about the next game in front of us.”
“We started out ranked No. 1 in the country. What an awesome responsibility. We had a brand new stadium and everybody had high expectations for this season. Lesser people than these kids would have crumbled under that pressure, but these kids had the composure, poise, confidence and work ethic and the belief in each other that if they just took it one day at a time, they knew they could accomplish great things.”
Mainieri has a 134-62-2 record at the helm of the LSU baseball program and has a career mark of 998-554-6 in 27 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Mainieri has guided three teams to the College World Series during his career. He directed Notre Dame to the CWS in 2002 and also guided LSU to the event last year.
It only took Mainieri two seasons to guide LSU back to the College World Series as the Tigers advanced to the 2008 CWS. Then last December, Collegiate Baseball newspaper ranked LSU No. 1 in its pre-season poll. One of the big reasons was a remarkable recruiting class in 2007 which Collegiate Baseball ranked No. 1 in the nation and included nine players selected in the Major League Draft.
LSU, which won 26 of its final 29 games to close the 2008 season, has a remarkable 82-20 record since April 22, 2008. The Tigers’ late-season drive to the 2008 CWS featured an SEC-record 23-game win streak, and LSU won 14 in a row from May 21-June 22 this season prior to a Game 2 championship series loss to Texas.
Mainieri’s emphasis on academic achievement has produced outstanding results in the classroom. Fourteen LSU baseball players, the most in the program’s history, were named to the 2008 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Even more impressive is that he has his team log hundreds of hours of community service work as they regularly visit hospitals and schools in the Baton Rouge area.
Previous Collegiate Baseball National Coaches of The Year include:
• 2008: Mike Batesole, Fresno St.
• 2007: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2006: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2005: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2004: George Horton, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 2003: Wayne Graham, Rice
• 2002: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2001: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 2000: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1999: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 1998: Mike Gillespie, Southern Calif.
Mike Batesole, Cal. St. Northridge
• 1997: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1996: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.,
Andy Lopez, Florida
• 1995: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1994: Larry Cochell, Oklahoma
• 1993: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1992: Andy Lopez, Pepperdine
• 1991: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1990: Steve Webber, Georgia
• 1989: Dave Snow, Long Beach St.
• 1988: Larry Cochell, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1987: Mark Marquess, Stanford
• 1986: Jerry Kindall, Arizona
• 1985: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1984: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1983: Cliff Gustafson, Texas
• 1982: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1981: Jim Brock, Arizona St.
• 1980: Jerry Kindall, Arizona