South Carolina names Mainieri head baseball coach


COLUMBIA - Paul Mainieri has been named the head baseball coach at the University of South Carolina, Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced on Tuesday, June 11. He becomes the 31st head coach in the history of Gamecock baseball. Mainieri also announced the retention of associate head coach/hitting coach Monte Lee and the additions of pitching coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Rooney and assistant coach John Hendry.

"Paul Mainieri is an outstanding coach, teacher, competitor and someone that I have known for many years," said Tanner. "One can judge his success through his many championships, SEC and NCAA, but I see the impact he has made on young men and know he can have that same success here as he has achieved in his career."

Mainieri, who is the active leader in career wins in Division I (1,505), guided LSU to a 2009 national championship and a 2017 runner-up finish. He has made six College World Series appearances, five with LSU and one with Notre Dame, four SEC championships, six SEC Tournament championships and 10 NCAA regional championships. Mainieri is a two-time SEC Coach of the Year and a four-time National Coach of the Year (2000, '08, '09 and '15).

"This is a wonderful opportunity to coach at a prestigious and tradition-rich college baseball program," Mainieri said. "I coached and competed against 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. We have a super coaching staff in place. I feel great and energized; I can't wait to get started working with the players, and let's get this University of South Carolina baseball program back to where it belongs - in Omaha and in the College World Series."

Mainieri spent 15 seasons at LSU, guiding the Tigers to the 2009 College World Series national championship and five CWS appearances. During Mainieri's tenure, LSU captured a remarkable 31 team championships, including the 2009 NCAA title, nine NCAA Regional championships, five NCAA Super Regional championships, four Southeastern Conference championships, six SEC Tournament titles and six SEC Western Division crowns.

In 11 of his 14 full seasons at LSU - the 2020 season was canceled after only 17 games because of COVID-19 - Mainieri led the Tigers to at least one team championship.

Mainieri posts a 1,505-777-8 (.659) record in 39 seasons of collegiate coaching at St. Thomas University (1984-88), Air Force (1989-94), Notre Dame (1995-2006) and LSU (2007-21). Mainieri is No. 7 in all-time NCAA Division I Baseball wins, and he is one of only five Division I coaches in NCAA history to have won more than 1,500 games and a national championship.

He has guided his teams to 46 team championships - 31 at LSU and 15 at Notre Dame. As head coach at Notre Dame from 1995-2006, Mainieri directed the Irish to an NCAA Super Regional title and an NCAA Regional championship, eight regular-season conference championships and five league tournament titles.

Mainieri recorded a 641-285-3 (.692) mark at LSU, and he has the fourth-highest winning percentage in SEC history, trailing only former LSU coach Skip Bertman, who was 870-330-3 (.724) from 1984-2001, current Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello, who has a 290-111 (.732) record from 2018-current and former South Carolina coach Ray Tanner, who posted a 738-316 (.700) mark from 1997-2012.

Mainieri's LSU players earned First-Team All-America recognition on 13 occasions, and 25 of his former Tigers have played Major League Baseball. LSU players were chosen in the MLB Draft on 90 occasions during Mainieri's tenure.

He served as the head coach of the United States Collegiate National Team for its 2018 summer tour, and he led Team USA to a 12-3 record that included series victories over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba.

His sincere commitment to everyday excellence was recognized in a substantial way on Jan. 3, 2014, in Dallas when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Mainieri, a four-time National Coach of the Year, is joined in the Hall of Fame by his father, Demie Mainieri, who coached Miami-Dade North Community College to 1,012 wins and a national title in his 30-year career. Demie and Paul Mainieri are the only father-son combination in the ABCA Hall of Fame.

Mainieri's commitment to academic achievement was illustrated by the Tigers' performance in the classroom, as 103 LSU baseball players earned their degrees during his tenure. Twenty-five of the graduates were players who signed professional contracts before completing their college eligibility and returned to LSU to finish their degree requirements. In addition, LSU players received SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition on 151 occasions during Mainieri's tenure.

He established an active community service function within the baseball program, as the Tigers regularly visit hospitals and schools in the Baton Rouge area. The team also participated in events like the ALS Walk - promoting awareness of the treatment of Lou Gehrig's Disease - and in the Buddy Walk, which is designed to encourage acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. Mainieri is personally involved in several philanthropic causes, including Cancer Services of Baton Rouge, the ALS Association, the Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center, the Knock Knock Children's Museum, Prostate Cancer Awareness and the Kelli Leigh Richmond Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

A four-year letterwinner in college, Mainieri played one season at LSU, one season for his father at Miami-Dade North Community College and two seasons at the University of New Orleans. The second baseman helped the Privateers win two Sun Belt Conference titles and advance to the 1979 NCAA Tournament during his senior season.

After completing his undergraduate degree requirements at Florida International (1980), Mainieri played two minor-league seasons before earning a master's in sports administration from St. Thomas in 1982.

Mainieri's coaching career began at his alma mater, Columbus High School in Miami, where he served as assistant baseball and football coach for three years before taking over as the head coach at St. Thomas in the fall of 1982. He also spent the final three years at St. Thomas as director of athletics. Mainieri was inducted into the Columbus High School Sports Hall of Fame in October 2009. He is a member of the St. Thomas Athletics Hall of Fame, and the St. Thomas baseball facility in March 2013 was named Paul Demie Mainieri Field in his honor.

Born Aug. 29, 1957, in Morgantown, West Virginia, Mainieri and his wife, Karen, have four children - Nicholas, Alexandra, Samantha and Thomas - and four grandchildren - Holden, Jonathan, Wren and Rocco.


Lee is no stranger to Gamecock baseball, as he has spent two stints as an assistant coach, most recently the last two seasons as the associate head coach/recruiting coordinator. The Gamecock offense hit 218 home runs in his two seasons in Columbia, including Ethan Petry's 44, which is tied for fifth on Carolina's all-time home runs list. Carolina also had 124 stolen bases in two seasons and scored 952 bases in 2023 and 2024. Offensively, Petry was a consensus All-American in 2023 and was named to the All-Raleigh Regional in 2024. Cole Messina was an All-American in 2023, an All-Region first team selection, an All-SEC Tournament honoree and an All-Raleigh Regional team selection in 2024.

Lee, who has had 21 winning seasons in his 22 years as a full-time NCAA coach, most recently was the head coach at Clemson University for seven seasons (2016-22), garnering a 242-136 overall record and leading the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament berths. He also was the head coach at the College of Charleston (2009-15), leading the Cougars to a Super Regional berth in 2014 and NCAA appearances in 2010 and 2015. He was an assistant at South Carolina from 2003-08, guiding USC to College World Series appearances in 2003 and 2004 and four Super Regional berths.


Rooney joins the Gamecocks from LSU, where he was the Tigers' associate director of program development and recruiting for the 2024 season. It was his second stint in Baton Rouge, as he was the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator under Coach Mainieri for two seasons (2007-08), helping the Tigers to a berth in the 2008 College World Series and assembling the nation's No. 1 recruiting class that contributed significantly to LSU's 2009 National Championship team.

Rooney was the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at Purdue from 2022-23 and at Houston from 2017-21. He was the head coach at UCF from 2009-16, where he was named the American Athletic Conference's Coach of the Year in 2014 and guided the Knights to a 45-win season and a NCAA Regional berth in 2012.


Hendry comes to the Garnet and Black after three seasons as the University of Virginia's director of player development. In his three seasons in Charlottesville, Hendry has helped the Cavaliers to three straight College World Series appearances, including a trip in 2024 after defeating Kansas State in the Super Regional.

Hendry pitched for the University of Indianapolis from 2016-21. He appeared in 34 games, contributing as both starting pitcher and a reliever for the Greyhounds. Out of high school, Hendry was a 32nd-round pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 2016 MLB Draft. At the conclusion of his playing career, Hendry went on to be an assistant coach for the Academy Park Rangers of the College Summer League in 2021. During his time as a student-athlete at Indianapolis, he spent time working in the facilities and gameday operations department.

Hendry is the son of John Hendry, longtime MLB executive and current special assistant to New York Yankee general manager Brian Cashman.