Former LSU coach Mainieri hired to lead South Carolina’s baseball program

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Paul Mainieri is making a comeback.

Three years after he retired after a long tenure at LSU, South Carolina announced Tuesday that it has hired Mainieri as its next baseball coach.

Mainieri is the active leader in career wins in Division I (1,505). He guided LSU to the 2009 national championship and a runner-up finish in 2017. He has made six College World Series appearances, five with LSU and one with Notre Dame.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The State newspaper (Columbia, S.C.) reported that Mainieri received a five-year contract worth $1.3 million per year. The contract was approved by the University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees governance committee in a meeting Tuesday. Mainieri was making $1.1 million a year in his last contract with LSU.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to coach at a prestigious and tradition-rich college baseball program,” Mainieri said in a statement announced the hire. “I coached and competed against (South Carolina athletic director) Ray Tanner for years and always had the greatest respect for him and the USC program. To now join with him on the same team and become a part of this program was simply something from which I could not walk away.”

The 66-year-old had a 641-285-3 record with the Tigers. His .692 winning percentage is the fourth-best in SEC history. He has coached a total of 39 seasons at St. Thomas University, Air Force, Notre Dame and LSU.

Mainieri spent 15 seasons at LSU, from 2006 to 2021, and retired at the end of the 2021 season citing health issues. He had several procedures to deal with neck pain beginning in 2018, eventually leading up to spinal fusion surgery in 2020.

Since his retirement Mainieri has continued to live in Baton Rouge and has inched closer to a full return to coaching. He fielded offers from Notre Dame and Miami after those schools had coaching changes, and joined Baton Rouge Community College as a special advisor to the head coach in August 2023.

He’d also been working as a special advisor to the LSU athletic department.

South Carolina fired Mark Kingston last week after the Gamecocks were eliminated in the NCAA Tournament’s Raleigh Regional. Kingston had been at South Carolina for seven seasons and compiled a 217-145 record with four NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the super regional round.