LSU’s Paul Mainieri elected to college baseball Hall

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG    LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri (1) meets on the mound to replace  pitcher Brent Bonvillain against Stony Brook last season.
Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri (1) meets on the mound to replace pitcher Brent Bonvillain against Stony Brook last season.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri will receive college baseball’s highest honor when he is inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame next January, joining his father to form the only father-son combination in the hall.

LSU announced Saturday that the younger Mainieri will be inducted Jan. 3, 2014, at the annual ABCA convention in Dallas.

Mainieri has a 1,122-614-7 record in 30 seasons of collegiate coaching, ranking him No. 10 on the career wins list for active NCAA coaches. He is one of only six active coaches who have won 1,000 games and an NCAA national championship.

Demie Mainieri coached Miami-Dade North Community College to 1,012 wins and a national title in his 30-year career.

“It was never my goal to be selected for this wonderful honor, being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame,” Paul Mainieri said in a statement released by LSU. “When I decided to go into coaching as a young man, it was simply with the purpose of helping young people develop their God-given talents to the fullest, and teaching them how to succeed in baseball and in life.

“My father taught me this lesson and it has been my guiding light throughout my career. I never thought that 30 years later I would have had the opportunities I have had to coach at four amazing institutions — St. Thomas University, the United State Air Force Academy, Notre Dame and LSU.”

In six seasons with the Tigers, Mainieri has guided them to two College World Series appearances, winning the national championship in 2009. He has also led LSU to three NCAA Regional titles, two Southeastern Conference championships, three SEC Tournament titles and three SEC Western Division crowns. The Tigers won the SEC overall title last season before falling one victory short of the CWS.

Current and former Tigers tweeted congratulations to Mainieri.

“Congrats to Coach Mainieri for being elected into the ABCA Hall of Fame,” senior outfielder Raph Rhymes tweeted. “Been an honor to play for such a great coach.”

Former Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook, now a top prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, tweeted, “Congrats to Coach Maineri on being inducted into Hall of Fame. Unbelievable coach but an even better person.”

Mainieri credited his players and others he has worked with.

“There have been so many people that have been a part of my life and my career along the way; without them, nothing would have been possible,” Mainieri said. “I have had the privilege of coaching so many tremendous young men, have been aided by many wonderful assistant coaches, had so much help from talented support staff, and always experienced the best of administrative support.

“All of the people that have influenced me and contributed to these programs for the past 30 years are a part of this tremendous honor.”

Mainieri is the second-winningest coach in LSU history, having compiled a 258-122-2 mark. Skip Bertman was 870-330-3 in 18 seasons (1984-2001).

Before becoming LSU’s coach in June 2006, Mainieri led the Notre Dame program in 12 seasons (1995-2006) to 533 wins, nine conference titles, nine NCAA tournament berths and a College World Series appearance in 2002. He also coached at St. Thomas University in Miami from 1984-88, and at Air Force from 1989-94.

There have been 260 men inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame, including three of Mainieri’s mentors — his father was inducted in 1988; his college coach, Ron Maestri of the University of New Orleans was inducted in 1991; and Bertman, who hired him at LSU, was inducted in 2003.

“To be thought of in the same category as so many of my heroes growing up is just overwhelming,” Mainieri said. “To be in the same fraternity with my idol, who happens to also be my father, as well as my phenomenal college coach Ron Maestri and the great Skip Bertman is incomprehensible to me. These people have always been bigger than life to me and I am just humbled by this selection.”

Mainieri will be joined by six other inductees in 2014, including two other active coaches — Jack Leggett of Clemson and Pete Dunn of Stetson. There are only four other active coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame — Mike Martin of Florida State, Mark Marquess of Stanford, Mike Gillespie of UC Irvine and John Anderson of Minnesota.

There are 19 voting members on the ABCA Hall of Fame Committee, and a candidate must be named on 75 percent of the ballots to gain induction.

Mainieri said the devotion of his wife, Karen, and their four children have allowed him to succeed in a demanding profession.

Tickets on sale Jan. 28

A limited number of LSU individual-game baseball tickets will go on sale beginning at 6 p.m. Jan. 28. The tickets will be available online only at www.LSUtix.net until 8 a.m. Jan. 29, when they may also be purchased by phone or in person at the LSU Athletic Ticket Office.

Fans can select any 15 or more of the 38 home games to be played in Alex Box Stadium to customize their own ticket plan. There is a limit of eight tickets per account for all home games with this package.

Remaining individual-game tickets after the 15-game packages are sold will go on sale at 8 a.m. Jan. 31. A limited amount of reserved tickets will be available for select games and standing room only tickets will be on sale for all home games. There is a limit of eight tickets for all conference games.

The Tigers begin preseason practice Friday and open the season at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 against Maryland in Alex Box Stadium.