Mainieri wins Skip Bertman Coach of the Year award

Bill Franques
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The National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced Monday that LSU coach Paul Mainieri is the winner of the 2015 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award.

Mainieri will be honored at the Hall of Fame's annual Night of Champions celebration Monday night in Lubbock. Other awards that will be presented at the event include the National Pitcher of the Year, the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year and the Brooks Wallace Award winner.

“I’m really excited for coach Mainieri,” said Mike Gustafson, president and CEO of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. “I’m sure this will be a special honor for him, given his respect for Coach Bertman.”

The award is named for Bertman, who coached at LSU from 1984 to 2001. During his tenure, he won five national championships and was named National Coach of the Year six times. He coached 31 players who went on to play Major League Baseball and was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 2006. Since that time, three of his players – Ben McDonald, Todd Walker and Eddy Furniss - have joined him in the Hall of Fame.

“I am so very happy,” Bertman said, “to be giving the award to a great coach and to my great friend, Paul Mainieri.”

“I am so honored as this award means more to me than any award that I have ever received,” Mainieri said. “I say this because of the respect I have for Skip Bertman and all he has done for college baseball. In addition to that fact, he is my dear friend, and he brought me to LSU when he was the athletic director. When he hired me, I told him my only goal at LSU was to make him proud of me.”

The National Coach of the Year designation is the second this season for Mainieri, who earlier this month was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He has received National Coach of the Year recognition in two previous seasons at LSU (2008, 2009) and in one previous season at Notre Dame (2000).

Over the past four seasons, LSU under Mainieri has won a nation’s-best 204 games, and the Tigers are the only team in the country to earn a National Seed in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments.

In 2015, Mainieri led the Tigers to the College World Series for the second time in three years and for the fourth time in his nine-season LSU tenure. The Tigers posted a nation’s-best 54 wins, and were ranked No. 1 in the country for 10 consecutive weeks during the season.

Mainieri was also named in 2015 the SEC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career, as he directed LSU to the SEC regular-season championship and to the Western Division title.

The LSU squad had five first-team All-SEC players and five players that earned All-America recognition. Eight LSU players were selected in June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including the No. 2 overall pick, shortstop Alex Bregman.