LSU baseball players hope to give coach Paul Mainieri one last big tournament run
Landon Marceaux was just hoping for an opportunity. He’s one of the few athletes who doesn’t have a social media profile, so he didn’t pay much attention to last week’s chatter or screenings as LSU baseball awaited its fate in tournament play.
Instead, Marceaux took a few extra days to stay mentally and physically prepared if LSU got a tournament offer. The SEC tournament left a bitter taste in the mouths of Marceaux, as well as his teammates. And when coach Paul Mainieri pulled the team out for a team meeting on Friday to announce his retirement, Marceaux immediately hoped that the 4-1 loss to Georgia wouldn’t be the way LSU’s historic coach would be. sent.
“We didn’t want this to be the last game for the coach, it would have been devastating,” said Marceaux. “I was a young boy watching the coach and he’s been here for 15 years and done amazing things. And leaving on that note would be devastating and having this opportunity to play for the coach means a lot to this team.”
Because he wasn’t on social media, Marceaux also didn’t see much in-season speculation about Mainieri’s future with the program. So when the coach he had watched for 15 years broke the news of him and the team, Marceaux was shocked.
“I had no idea it was even a thought. He came over and said his contract was for three years and he wanted to fulfill that contract,” Marceaux said. “I was shocked I had no idea what was going to happen. He’s been around for a long time so he knows what’s best for this program and I think we’ll try to get him out on top.”
“It was a shock. You certainly don’t want to see anyone walk away from the game, but the coach is at peace with that and I understand where he’s coming from,” said outfielder Gavin Dugas. “You really hate to see someone with his success quit, but I love every part of him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had, a great man, a great human being and he has me. shaped to be the man I am today I appreciate him and all he has done for us and hope we can pay him back the right way. “
Dugas and Marceaux are just the smallest fraction of the players Mainieri has had an impact on during his 39-year coaching career. Both of the team’s veterans know what Mainieri has meant to all former and current LSU players over the past fifteen years.
Now the goal is to send their trainer out with a bang and do their best to get back to Omaha, or swing down.
“Everything he said to me and everything he did was for a reason and looking back on it I’m so grateful for what he did,” Dugas said. “He taught me so much about myself, about this game and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. He taught me to be strong and to handle things.
“As a team, we wanted this opportunity to send him,” said Marceaux. “We got together a bit and talked about it and now that we have that opportunity it really motivates us to have this his last run and do it for the program he was in charge of.”
For Mainieri, he doesn’t want it to be about him. During his LSU career, he appeared 13 times in the NCAA tournament and at Notre Dame, he did so nine more times. For him, it is for these players to have the opportunity to compete for a national championship.
“I don’t want it to be about me, I’ve been doing it for 39 years. I don’t know how many NCAA tournaments I’ve been to, but I’ve had a lot of good experiences,” Mainieri said. . . “If we hadn’t called our name today, I wouldn’t have been upset for Paul Mainieri’s sake, I would have been upset for these 30 strange kids. I had a lot of chances, ma career is over and I have had a lot of great experiences so I would have been heartbroken for the players.
“We’re not going to face any more difficult teams than the ones we’ve played all season. They’re all great teams, championship-caliber teams. We’re going to go in there, drop out and hopefully be able to win. This thing.