“It is such a thrill to be called the Head Baseball Coach of the LSU Tigers- the National Champions,” said Mainieri. “People just think it sort of happens, but it takes years of hard work to become an overnight success.”
Mainieri and his Tigers won the 2009 College World Series in Omaha, NE, on June 24. Mainieri went on to say that the experience was lots of fun but there were some really tough moments. “Everything we do in life makes us who we are,” Mainieri added.
Coach Mainieri held the audience captive as he explained that some people had approached him claiming that the Tigers’ best days at LSU had come and gone.
“I always believed we could do it,” he said. “We have great coaches and great players. I knew what it took to succeed. It’s a simple concept, really. You surround yourself with great people and anything is possible.”
Mainieri, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s 2009 Coach of the Year, said that every player that has been recruited has extraordinary talent. “I believe extraordinary talent is a gift from God and as great as an athlete thinks he or she is, in a relatively short time their career will be over. Education, however, will last a lifetime,” Mainieri said.
There are three things that Mainieri expects from his players which he says are non-negotiable.
•Each player must take his extraordinary talent and develop it to its fullest potential and learn to sacrifice. Each athlete will play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back.
•Players will earn a degree from LSU. Being a student athlete does not mean having to sacrifice one area of life to excel in another.
•As an LSU baseball player, the student athletes have an inordinate status and with that they have the opportunity to make the community a better place. “I encourage the players to visit the elderly, sick kids, attend charity events, hold baseball clinics for young kids and do anything to give back and contribute,” Mainieri said.
He went on to say that he believes kids enjoy discipline- if they are worth their salt- they actually want discipline in their lives.
The former Notre Dame coach claims it is almost impossible to not have great expectations when it comes to LSU. “You give a coach great facilities, players, weather, fan support with an average of 9,600 per game, and awesome media coverage- how can you not have great expectaions? How can you not want to succeed?” Mainieri asked.
“It is a true honor to be ranked number one in the country,” added Mainieri. The baseball coach also went on to say that he tells his players not to worry about satisfying him, the fans or the media, but to just worry about satisfying themselves.
“As long as the kids know they did their best and have poise and composure out on the field, that’s what counts,” said Coach Mainieri.
Mainieri had this final thing to say to Rotarians, “It is a tremendous honor to be the head baseball coach at LSU. Putting on that jersey is an awesome thrill and something I will never take for granted.”