DALLAS - Former Air Force baseball head coach Paul Mainieri was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Friday night at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas as part of the annual ABCA convention. Mainieri, who is currently the head coach at national power LSU, was the head coach of the Falcons from 1989-94.
Mainieri, a three-time National Coach of the Year, is the second member of the Mainieri family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Mainieri joins 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 will be the only father-son combination in the ABCA Hall of Fame.
Mainieri has a 1,179-625-7 record in 31 seasons of collegiate coaching at St. Thomas University (1984-88), Air Force (1989-94), Notre Dame (1995-2006) and LSU (2007-present). He is No. 10 on the career wins list for active NCAA coaches, and he is one of only six active coaches to have won 1,000 games and an NCAA national championship.
"It was never my goal to be selected for this wonderful honor, being inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame," Mainieri said. "When I decided to go into coaching as a young man, it was simply with the purpose of helping young people develop their God-given talents to the fullest, and teaching them how to succeed in baseball and in life. My father taught me this lesson and it has been my guiding light throughout my career. I never thought that 31 years later I would have had the opportunities I have had to coach at four amazing institutions – St. Thomas University, the United States Air Force Academy, Notre Dame and LSU.
A former Chicago White Sox farmhand, Mainieri was the first civilian baseball coach at Air Force and averaged 26 wins in six seasons (1989-’94) for a program that averaged just 15 wins in the six previous years. He is the only Air Force baseball coach to post six straight 20-win seasons and his 1994 squad led the nation in hitting (.360), slugging (.623) and triples (0.76 per game). Mainieri posted a 152-158 record in his six seasons at Air Force.
Mainieri guided the 1993 Air Force team to its first winning season in nearly a decade (28-22), with a school-record 21 wins at home. He coached three All-Americans, two Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans with the Falcons. Current Falcon head coach Mike Kazlausky (Maj. Retired), played under Mainieri and considers him to be one of the most influential mentors in his life.
Mainieri was joined Friday by six other inductees, including two other active coaches – Jack Leggett of Clemson and Pete Dunn of Stetson. There are only four other active coaches in the ABCA Hall of Fame – Mike Martin of Florida State, Mark Marquess of Stanford, Mike Gillespie of UC Irvine and John Anderson of Minnesota.