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South Carolina Hires Paul Mainieri as Head Baseball Coach

By Sinderella

South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner has sent shockwaves across the college baseball world by hiring legendary coach Paul Mainieri as the school's 31st head baseball coach. Mainieri has been retired for three years from LSU, and he is coming back into a whole new world with the transfer portal craze and NIL having become significant parts of college athletics. There is no denying his success on the diamond, though. He is the 9th-winningest coach of all-time, sporting a 1501-775-8 (.659) career record, has taken a team to Omaha six times, and won a national championship in 2009.

It is reported that Mainieri will be bringing in Terry Rooney as his pitching coach and retaining Monte Lee as the hitting coach. In my opinion, those are two extremely important staff hires. Rooney is known as one of the best recruiters in the sport and has done an amazing job wherever he has been. Lee is one of the most connected and respected coaches in the state of South Carolina. Mainieri selecting those two coaches tells you he is committed to win, and win big, now.

Obviously the big questions are:

  • "How long will he coach, since he will be 67 later this year?"

  • "How will he handle NIL and the transfer portal craze?"

  • "Has the rapidly evolving game of major college athletics passed him?"

For question one, no one knows. I don't really care how long it is. I only care that he will leave it better than he found it, which I believe he will do.

Question two is where he will lean heavily on his assistant coaches, as they have been doing great work in this new world. Paul will catch up very quickly, and I don't think this is a big issue.

Question three is something I've heard from LSU and college baseball contacts as something that happened at the end of his tenure at LSU. I'm not sure about that. He's a genius and knows how to win baseball games better than 99% of coaches. This is a non-issue for me.

With all that said, this is an amazing hire the more I think about it. You have a legendary figurehead who knows how to win coming into a program that frankly hasn't seen an ounce of consistency for more than a decade. Paul Mainieri is the definition of consistency. He is assembling an all-star staff, and they are going to do extremely well here at South Carolina. This is a home run hire.

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