A half-dozen candidates to replace Paul Mainieri at LSU

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Paul Mainieri announced his retirement Friday after 15 seasons at LSU, so for only the third time in nearly four decades, the Tigers are in the market for a head baseball coach.

Where will Scott Woodward turn to replace Mainieri? If the women’s basketball search told us anything, it’s that Woodward isn’t afraid to swing for the fences – and connect.

Here are six potential candidates for the Tigers, listed alphabetically:

Mike Bianco, Ole Miss: A former LSU catcher in the late 1980s, Bianco is completing his 21st season in Oxford, where he has won a school-record 807 games, including nine 40-win seasons and a trip to the College World Series in 2014. Bianco was an assistant under Bertman for five years from 1993-97, a stretch that includes three CWS titles. He’s also served as head coach at McNeese State. Ole Miss is expected to host an NCAA regional next week.

Cliff Godwin, East Carolina: A member of Mainieri’s staffs at Notre Dame and in his early years at LSU, Godwin, 43, is completing his seventh season at ECU. The Pirates, who won the American Athletic Conference regular-season title, are a likely regional host in next week’s NCAA Tournament.

Dan McDonnell, Louisville: The Cardinals, like LSU, are on the NCAA bubble this season, but McDonnell has a sterling resume in 15 years, leading Louisville to five trips to Omaha. From 2007-2020, Louisville’s 618 wins were the most in Division I. He also has SEC experience – prior to heading to the Derby City, McDonnell spent six years as Bianco’s top assistant at Ole Miss.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O’Sullivan, Florida: O’Sullivan, 52, is the hot name on the rumor mill. The Gators beat LSU for the national championship four years ago. Florida has reached the CWS seven times in the last 11 years and produced 10 first-round picks since 2012, the most in the nation. The Gators will likely be a regional host next week.

Jim Schlossnagle, TCU: Schlossnagle, who knows the Louisiana landscape after spending eight seasons as an assistant at Tulane, is completing his 18th year in Fort Worth and his Horned Frogs are expected to host a regional next week. The 50-year-old picked up his 800th career win earlier this month and has taken TCU to the College World Series five times, including four straight seasons from 2014-17.

Tony Vitello

Tony Vitello, Tennessee: In his fourth season in Knoxville, Vitello has moved the Vols back onto the national stage in 2021. The 42-year-old has been around SEC programs, working at Missouri (under Mainieri’s former teammate at the University of New Orleans, Tim Jamieson) and Arkansas before accepting the Tennessee job after the 2017 season. Tennessee, which won its 44th game Friday in a run-rule shutout of Alabama, is ranked No. 4 in the D1Baseball poll and is a lock to be a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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