LSU Coach Paul Mainieri To Retire After 2021 Season

Image credit: 2009 national champion LSU (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos Via Getty)

Louisiana State coach Paul Mainieri on Friday announced he would retire at the conclusion of the 2021 season. Mainieri has been a head coach for 39 years, the last 15 of which have come at LSU.

Mainieri, 63, had a storied career. He is the winningest active coach with a career record of 1,501-774-8 and he ranks seventh all-time in wins. He led LSU to the 2009 national championship and a runner-up finish in 2017. He made six College World Series appearances and won the SEC Tournament six times. He was named Baseball America’s Coach of the Year in 2009.

As the son of Demie Mainieri, who coached Miami-Dade JC for 30 years and—like his son—is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Paul Mainieri grew up dreaming of being a college baseball coach. He not only lived that dream, he rose to the greatest heights of the profession.

Now, however, he is stepping away.

“It’s very difficult to leave a profession that I truly love, but I’m so grateful for the amazing opportunities that have been presented to me through the years,” Mainieri said in a statement.

This season has been a difficult one for Mainieri and LSU. The Tigers began the year ranked in the top 10 and had Omaha expectations, as they annually do. But the team struggled early, in part because of its youth, in part due to some injuries. The Tigers played better in the second half of the season and are 34-22, but after going 13-17 in SEC play and losing in the opening round of the SEC Tournament, they are on the NCAA Tournament bubble and there is a chance that Mainieri has already coached his final game.

The expectations at LSU are always to compete for national championships and the Tigers have not met those since 2017, leading to some unrest in Baton Rouge. Since reaching the CWS finals, LSU has not finished a season ranked in the top 10 and, by its lofty standards, has had two disappointing NCAA Tournaments—losing in the 2018 Corvallis Regional final and getting upset by Florida State in the 2019 Baton Rouge Super Regional.

Overall, however, Mainieri’s tenure at LSU has been remarkably consistent. The Tigers won at least 40 games 10 times, have missed regionals just twice and have won eight regionals. They won five SEC Tournaments in a seven-year stretch from 2008-14, turning the event into the Tiger Invitational.

Mainieri was hired by then-athletic director Skip Bertman to return LSU to the heights it had achieved under his watch as head coach. That goal was never lost on Mainieri.

“To have carried the torch of a program built by Skip Bertman, the greatest college baseball coach of all time, has been a tremendous privilege,” he said. “It has always been my unwavering goal to sustain the excellence that was created here.”

Mainieri’s career began at St. Thomas (Fla.) in 1983 before moving on to Air Force after six seasons. After six seasons at the Academy, he took over at Notre Dame. He led the Fighting Irish for 12 seasons, leading them to the 2002 CWS, before he was hired at LSU in 2006.

Now, Mainieri’s storied career has come to a close. After 39 seasons, he moves into retirement having lived his dream.

“I have been the luckiest guy in the world to have lived out a childhood dream of becoming a college baseball coach,” Mainieri said. “I’ve worked at four wonderful institutions, and it’s been the honor of my life to have served as the head coach at LSU for 15 years.”

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