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Former Air Force baseball coach inducted into coaches' Hall of Fame

By: News services
January 3, 2014 Updated: January 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm
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LSU coach Paul Mainieri laughs during an NCAA college baseball news conference at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 14, 2013. UCLA plays LSU in the College World Series on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

DALLAS - Former Air Force baseball coach Paul Mainieri was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday night at the Hilton Anatole Hotel as part of the annual ABCA convention. Mainieri, who is coach at national power LSU, was the 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 (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."

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 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 coach Mike Kazlausky, played under Mainieri and considers him to be one of his most influential mentors.

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