BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU coach Paul Mainieri will arrive on Sunday at the USA Baseball training center in Cary, N.C., to begin his assignment as head coach of the 2018 USA Collegiate National Team.
The USA Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series this summer, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28 – July 2. The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18.
Mainieri, who was named Team USA’s head coach in October, is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and he has directed LSU to a national championship in 2009 and five NCAA College World Series appearances overall, including a runner-up finish in 2017.
“Words cannot adequately describe how honored and proud I am to have the opportunity to lead the USA Collegiate National Team,” said Mainieri. “It has been a goal of mine since I went into coaching 36 years ago to one day coach our nation’s team and to now have that dream realized is almost overwhelming. When you pull that jersey on over your head and it says ‘USA’ across the front, your emotions are impossible to describe. We live in the greatest country in the world and I am so proud to be an American, and I also love college baseball. To combine those two things is as good as it gets for me.
“My three mentors throughout my coaching life – Tommy Lasorda, Ron Maestri, and my father, Demie Mainieri – all took their turn in coaching Team USA. And now I get the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. I’m thrilled beyond words to have this wonderful experience.”
This will be Mainieri’s second coaching stint for Team USA after serving as an assistant coach on the Collegiate National Team in 2015, and he will be tasked with continuing an exceptional run of success. USA Baseball is coming off its 2017 season where it became the first federation in history to sweep its international competitions, highlighted by a World Baseball Classic title, two World Baseball/Softball Confederation Baseball World Championships and three international friendship series victories by the Collegiate National Team over Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan.
Mainieri’s Team USA assistant coaching staff will include New York Yankees special assignment scout Jim Hendry, the former Chicago Cubs general manager and former Creighton head coach; Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor; East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin; and St. Thomas University head coach Jorge Perez.
Mainieri’s U.S. team will include three current LSU players – outfielder Antoine Duplantis, pitcher Zack Hess and outfielder Zach Watson. Team USA’s bullpen coach will be Trent Forshag, a member of the Tigers’ equipment staff and a former LSU catcher.
Mainieri has posted a 551-229-3 record (.706) in 12 seasons at the helm of the LSU program. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball tabbed Mainieri as the National Coach of the Year in 2009 and he was also honored with national coach of the year honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in addition to being awarded the Skip Bertman Trophy, in 2015.
He was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2015, and he has led the Tigers to 29 team championships, including the 2009 College World Series title, five Super Regional championships, seven NCAA Regional championships, six SEC Tournament titles, four SEC regular-season championships and six SEC Western Division crowns.
At LSU, he has coached 11 First Team All-Americans and 15 Tigers who have played in Major League Baseball. Additionally, he has coached five LSU players who have participated on the Collegiate National Team: catcher Micah Gibbs (2008), outfielder Mikie Mahtook (2010), pitcher Kevin Gausman (2011), shortstop Alex Bregman (2013, 2014) and pitcher Alex Lange (2016).
Mainieri currently sits at No. 3 on the career wins list for active NCAA Division I coaches with 1,415 victories in 36 seasons. He is No. 10 in all-time NCAA wins, and he is one of only six coaches in NCAA baseball history to have won over 1,400 games and a national championship.