‘Next year is a whole new entity’: Part II of The Advocate’s end-of-season Q&A with Paul Mainieri

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU coach Paul Mainieri speaks to his players as Vanderbilt relief pitcher Collin Snider warms up in the fifth inning April 9 at Alex Box Stadium.

Sure, Paul Mainieri’s baseball team missed a golden opportunity to reach the College World Series this season. But if you’re an LSU fan and you’re already looking ahead to 2017, consider this: The Tigers will have much more experience next year than they had this spring. Cole Freeman and Kramer Robertson solidified the middle infield; Antoine Duplantis and… Continue reading →

‘We don’t believe in a rebuilding year’: Part I of The Advocate’s end-of-season Q&A with Paul Mainieri

Advocate staff photo by ANDREA MABRY-- LSU coach Paul Mainieri watches from the dugout as the Tigers face Florida in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., last month. Mainieri led his team to 40-plus wins for the eighth time in his 10-season tenure at LSU, but the Tigers fell two wins short of a berth in the College World Series.

Two weeks removed from a super regional loss to Coastal Carolina and just after he reaffirmed his commmitment to LSU following inquiries from Texas, coach Paul Mainieri sat down for a 45-minute postseason Q&A to assess the season and program. Buoyed by a torrid May where they lost just three games, the Tigers — which replaced eight… Continue reading →

Where were you when Warren Morris hit that homer? LSU fans were dancing, dogpiling, missing weddings and kissing strangers

Omaha ,Neb.--LSU Head Coach Skip Bertman gives a big hug to an emotional team captain, Tim Lanier, after the Tigers last inning win. Photo by John H.Williams.

It happens about once a week, Warren Morris says. Maybe he’s walking the streets of Alexandria, where a 60-year-old man in jeans tells him he got so excited when Morris hit his game-winning home run that he fell off his lawn mower. Or he’s sitting behind his cozy desk at Red River Bank, where a woman, clad… Continue reading →

That other Allen: New Arkansas quarterback has familiar last name, wants to ‘keep the Boot’

Austin Allen looks to replace his brother at Arkansas this season.

THIBODAUX — Austin Allen gets asked the same question a lot. Everyone wants to know what it’s like for him to succeed his prolific older brother Brandon as Arkansas’ newest quarterback. When a reporter posed that question to Allen at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday for what was likely the umpteenth time, the… Continue reading →

‘We’ll get the last laugh’: A confident LSU quarterback Brandon Harris fueled - still - by the cynics

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris talks to reporters Friday during the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State in Thibodaux.

THIBODAUX — After LSU’s win over Florida last season, its quarterback, Brandon Harris, criticized the doubters in front of a room full of reporters. The doubters, mostly included ESPN “SportsCenter” anchors and analysts, talking heads who were down on the Tigers’ passing game despite a 5-0 start. “Apparently,” he said… Continue reading →

How does Ben Simmons instantly become the 76ers’ centerpiece?

Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball draft pick Ben Simmons speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Friday, June 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA — No matter what position he ends up playing, Ben Simmons is going to be the centerpiece of the Philadelphia 76ers’ offense. “He’s a facilitator, a distributor and he’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot,” said Bryan Colangelo, the team’s president of basketball operations. “He’s going to make everyone on… Continue reading →

Brandon Harris vs. Dameyune Craig? It’s coming, the LSU quarterback says

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- New wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig talks to players at LSU's second practice of spring football drills in March.

The duel was set: Brandon Harris vs. Dameyune Craig. Current LSU starting quarterback vs. former Auburn starting quarterback. Player vs. coach. Pupil vs. mentor. “He thinks he can still throw better than me,” said Harris, the Tigers’ rising junior, about LSU’s new receivers coach. “He thinks he can get me on distance and all… Continue reading →

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris: ‘I take full responsibility for last year. I was terrible’

THIBODAUX – Brandon Harris has watched enough tape to know that he wasn’t tough enough during LSU’s 9-3 season last year.

He’s watched enough tape, he said, to know that he wasn’t good enough either.

“I take full responsibility for last year,” he said. “I was terrible. I was straight-out bad. I’m telling you right now, people can sleep if… Continue reading →

Jim Hawthorne comes full circle with Louisiana Sports Hall induction

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU radio host Jim Hawthorne signs an autograph for Alex Hibbs, 9, right, before tipoff against Missouri in LSU's last regular season home game, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at LSU's PMAC in Baton Rouge, La.

NATCHITOCHES — The road in front of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum includes a lane for vehicles to pull around in a circle. Longtime LSU broadcaster Jim Hawthorne couldn’t have asked for a better true-to-life metaphor. As he addressed the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame press conference on Thursday, Hawthorne talked about… Continue reading →

76ers make Ben Simmons first No. 1 pick from LSU since 1992

Associated Press photo by FRANK FRANKLIN II -- LSU's Ben Simmons raises his hand as he walks off the stage after being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA — Ben Simmons was signing 76ers jerseys and eating cheesesteaks before he was even drafted. He’ll wear a team uniform for real soon enough. With the great hope he can lift one of the worst franchises in professional sports, the Philadelphia 76ers took Simmons with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday… Continue reading →

Back injury forces O’Neal Lochridge to rule out a return to LSU for 2016-17

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU third baseman O'Neal Lochridge (9) throws to first between innings against Sacramento State, Friday, February 26, 2016, LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

The uncertainty surrounding O’Neal Lochridge’s back has forced the rising sophomore into a difficult decision. Lochridge, who suffered a flare up of a stress fracture in his back and is currently in a torso cast for three months, ruled out playing for LSU next season. The St. Thomas More product will continue to attend LSU and focus… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Why LSU fans should be rooting for Ben Simmons in the NBA

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUKLSU forward Ben Simmons warms up before a game against Missouri on March 1. Simmons is projected to be the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

Sometime early in Thursday night’s NBA draft extravaganza, Ben Simmons will saunter across the stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, grab a Philadelphia 76ers hat and jersey and smile a multimillion dollar smile befitting the No. 1 overall draft pick as he poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. At that moment, Simmons will become the fresh face… Continue reading →

Former LSU star Ben Simmons works out with Sixers

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU forward Ben Simmons dunks against Missouri in the first half Tuesday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Simmons scored 22 points and  had 14 rebounds and seven assists in LSU's 80-71 win.

Ben Simmons finally made it to Philadelphia on Tuesday — and it sounds like he’ll be spending much more time in the City of Brotherly Love. Simmons, the one-and-done former LSU star who has been the presumptive first pick in the 2016 NBA draft since before he signed with the Tigers, was told by the Philadelphia 76ers… Continue reading →

Seimone Augustus makes WNBA list of 20 greatest, most influential players

Minnesota Lynx's Seimone Augustus, middle, celebrates with Renee Montgomery (21) and Natasha Howard (3) as the Lynx take an early lead against the Phoenix Mercury during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Seimone Augustus was arguably the greatest women’s basketball player in LSU history. Now she’s being recognized as one of the greatest in WNBA history as well. In conjunction with the league’s 20th anniversary, Augustus was named Tuesday to the WNBA’s list of the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history. Also named to… Continue reading →

LSU baseball notebook: Pitcher Jesse Stallings will sign with the Cincinnati Reds

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU pitcher Jesse Stallings posted a 3-0 record this season with a 3.64 ERA.

A third member of the LSU bullpen is signing a professional contract. Fireballing right-hander Jesse Stallings, drafted in the 15th round by the Cincinnati Reds, will forgo his junior and senior season and sign with the club, coach Paul Mainieri said Tuesday. He joins relievers Parker Bugg and Riley Smith as Tigers who have signed professionally. “I think… Continue reading →

Generations knew only Jim Hawthorne as Voice of the Tigers

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU Sports Radio Network host Jim Hawthorne calls his first game back from taking a leave of absence as LSU plays South Alabama, Thursday, November 19, 2015, at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The Voice. That recognizable voice. A voice that tells you whether fourth-and-goal results in a touchdown and a win, whether a late 3-pointer is good or not, and calls the walk-off chance for victory or defeat. That’s what “The Voice” does for multitudes of fan at colleges and universities all over this country. He is the one who… Continue reading →

Former LSU commitment Zach Lee content with decision to sign with Dodgers

Photo provided by Oklahoma City Dodgers Media Relations -- Oklahoma City pitcher and former LSU commitment Zach Lee

Oklahoma City pitcher Zach Lee said he knows he made the right decision in signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being selected in the first round of the 2010 draft. With the $5.25 million signing bonus, it was a no-brainer. However, Lee said he wonders what it would have been like being a two-sport potential star… Continue reading →

Fisher, Oller top All-Louisiana baseball team

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Tulane closing pitching Jeremy Montalbano (33) celebrates the Green Wave's 7-1 win over LSU, Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

LAFAYETTE — Southeastern Louisiana first baseman Jameson Fisher and Northwestern State right-hander Adam Oller highlighted the Louisiana Sports Writers Association college baseball team that was released Saturday. The team was selected by a panel of statewide media members and the state’s baseball sports information directors. Louisiana Tech’s Greg Goff, who led the Bulldogs to… Continue reading →

USTA tournament set for LSU tennis facility

Some of the United States’ best women’s tennis players will converge on LSU for the USTA 25K Women’s Professional tennis tournament starting Sunday at the LSU tennis facility. Hosted by the Southern Lifestyle Development Tennis Classic, the tournament attracts talent from professional tennis (Catherine Bellis, ranked No. 248 in the world; and defending champion Danielle Lao,… Continue reading →

NBA draft: Why LSU’s Ben Simmons is poised to become the top pick

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUKLSU forward Ben Simmons warms up before a game against Missouri on March 1. Simmons is projected to be the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

When the NBA draft begins Thursday night, the long wait for LSU All-America forward Ben Simmons will be over in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, the wait will be just beginning for guard Tim Quarterman, the second LSU underclassman to declare for the draft shortly after the Tigers’ disappointing season ended three months ago.… Continue reading →

Sources: Parker Bugg leaving LSU to sign with Miami Marlins

. Parker Bugg’s LSU career is over. The lanky, 6-foot-6 right-hander will sign with the Miami Marlins for $50,000, multiple sources told The Advocate on Friday. Bugg, who the Marlins drafted in the 27th round, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Bugg was one of coach Paul Mainieri’s most reliable end-of-game threats, notching four of the team’s… Continue reading →

LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux gets boost in pay, extension after runner-up finish at national championships

Photo provided by LSU Sports/Chris Parent -- Head coach D-D Breaux applauds her team as they compete in the NCAA National Championships.

Paul Mainieri isn’t the only LSU coach receiving a raise. D-D Breaux, the school’s longtime gymnastics coach, is getting a 23 percent bump in pay to $240,000 and a two-year contract extension, according to details available on the LSU Board of Supervisors agenda. Breaux’s contract amendment must be approved at the board… Continue reading →

LSU AD Joe Alleva: ‘No-brainer’ to keep Paul Mainieri, who continues to excel as competition improves

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri speaks with athletic director Joe Alleva in the dugout before the Tigers' game against UNC-Wilmington during the NCAA Division I Baton Rouge Baseball Regional, Monday, June 1, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

. With no agents involved, athletic director Joe Alleva met with LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri Thursday morning, a talk Alleva described Friday as ‘just a conversation with Paul and myself” on Culotta & The Prince on 104.5/104.9 ESPN Radio in Baton Rouge. The two met as reports swirled about another school -- multiple… Continue reading →

LSU’s Leonard Fournette, celebrity daughter Lyric: How fatherhood transformed college football’s best player

Advocate photo by Ross Dellenger  --  Lyric Fournette talks on one of her father's two phones during an interview on Monday in LSU's administration building.

Lyric Fournette was in a hurry. Just like her father on the football field. She was born five weeks premature, weighing 3 pounds, 2 ounces — less than half the weight of an average newborn and the size of a half-gallon of milk. She came so quickly that doctors had no time to administer pain relief… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Paul Mainieri got what he wanted — but the stakes will rise with his salary

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri speaks to his players on the field before Game 1 of the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional between LSU and Coastal Carolina, Saturday, June 11, 2016, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

So Paul Mainieri’s flirtation with Texas is over almost before we knew it existed. After a hasty meeting with athletic director Joe Alleva on Thursday and a hefty (if unspecified) raise — more of the latter than the former greased the wheels of this decision, I’m sure — Mainieri will stay at LSU. He has said he’d like… Continue reading →

Exclusive: After reaffirming commitment to LSU, Paul Mainieri on why he just ‘didn’t want to leave’

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri in the dugout before LSU's game against Missouri, Saturday, May 9, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

Hours after reaffirming his position as LSU’s head baseball coach, Paul Mainieri spoke with The Advocate from his office inside Alex Box Stadium. Though Mainieri did not mention Texas by name, The Advocate confirmed through sources that the Longhorns were after the 58-year-old Tigers coach, and the LSU administration countered with a substantial pay raise.… Continue reading →

Still a Tiger: LSU's Mainieri nets raise, rebuffs potential offer from Longhorns

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri speaks to his players on the field before Game 1 of the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional between LSU and Coastal Carolina, Saturday, June 11, 2016, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La.

With his future more in doubt than at any other point in his 10-year tenure at LSU, Paul Mainieri called his wife, Karen, at 1 p.m. Thursday from his office. A school, one Mainieri declined to name specifically, contacted the 58-year-old coach “out of the clear blue.” “I think I want to stay,” Mainieri told her. “I think the… Continue reading →

'I want to be better': shortstop Kramer Robertson will return to LSU for his senior season

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson (3) carries a sign bearing his name during the team's victory lap following Game 7 of the 2016 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional between LSU and Rice, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers' won 5-2.

Minutes after the most consistent collegiate season of his career came to an abrupt end on his home field, Kramer Robertson dropped to both knees, and put his head near the turf while Coastal Carolina bunch dogpiled near his shortstop position. “As soon as we lost,” Robertson said Wednesday, “I don’t know if there was a money figure… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Oakmont tough, very tough; take it from former LSU golfer Bob Friend

Dustin Johnson walks to the 12th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in Oakmont, Pa. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

They’re called SWAT matches. They’re played on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Oakmont Country Club, best ball set-tos between foursomes, something to pass the time and stir the blood in the decade or so between hosting U.S. Opens. The sultans of SWAT are the Oakmont members, people who like their golf as hard as the Pittsburgh steel that… Continue reading →

LSU reverses policy, will allow visiting bands to play at halftime

Advocate Staff photo by BILL FEIG  --  LSU head coach Les Miles rescues an Alabama band member from being run down when the team came onto the field.

Let the bands play on. LSU is lifting a year-old policy that prohibited opposing marching bands from performing during halftime at Tiger Stadium, the school announced Wednesday — the end of a weeklong ordeal that riled up the national band community. LSU’s new plan involves reconfiguring seating areas in the South end zone so that visiting… Continue reading →

Stay tuned: LSU revisits opposing-band policy, may lift it by season opener with colleges watching closely

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG --Drum major Daniel Wendt, of Denham Springs, leads the LSU Golden Band from Tigerland down Victory Hill, a highlight for anyone who carries the baton.

LSU’s year-old policy prohibiting opposing marching bands from performing during halftimes at Tiger Stadium is not a “dead decision,” and the school is assessing a way to lift the policy in the near future, an athletic department official says. Meanwhile, the college marching band world has its collective eyes on Baton Rouge, one longtime band director… Continue reading →

LSU softball team finishes No. 3, No. 4 in final polls

Associated Press photo by SUE OGROCKI -- LSU coach Beth Torina talks with starting pitcher Allie Walljasper and catcher Kellsi Kloss in the second inning of a Women's College World Series game against Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on June 5. The Tigers, who lost in the semifinals, finished No. 3 and No. 4 in the final Division I polls.

LSU’s semifinal appearance in the Women’s College World Series earned the Tigers a No. 3 ranking in the final USA Today/Coaches poll and No. 4 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25, which were released Tuesday. LSU (52-18) went 2-2 in the WCWS and was eliminated by eventual national champion Oklahoma in the semifinals. Auburn, which lost to the… Continue reading →