LSU Tigers and College World Series
Tonight the LSU Tigers play the North Carolina Tar Heels in the College World Series. Omaha is a tremendous place to play baseball, and every time I watch the CWS I think about my late friend, the great Rod Dedeaux, as he led USC to 11 College World Series titles and 28 conference titles. He broke the mold for college coaches, as they all wanted to pattern themselves after Rod.
This year, another great coach is on the verge of tasting the fruits of victory. Paul Mainieri, head coach of the Tigers, has guided his team through an outstanding season. At one point they put together a 23-game winning streak.
Twenty three games!
I was great friends with Demi Mainieri, Paul’s father. Demi, who was the head coach at Miami-Dade, invited me to speak there and we became instant friends. Paul has filled his father’s shoes. He was a credit to the Air Force Academy when he coached there, a credit to Notre Dame when he coached there, and is now a credit to LSU.
I love Paul, and he honored me by asking me to be Godfather to his son, Tommy. In fact, I share that honor with the GM of the Cubs, Jim Hendry, as we are co-godfathers. I just hope everybody knows that when Tommy wears blue, it’s Dodger blue, and not Cub blue.
Coach Paul is one of the finest in the country. To reach the finals in any tournament is impressive, but to reach the finals in the College World Series is special. If I had a son who wanted to play college baseball, I would send him to Coach Paul.
College baseball coaches don’t get the recognition they deserve. Many times college baseball coaches have to chalk their own fields and wash their own batting practice balls when they get too dirty.
Do you ever see a college football coach lining the end zone?
Do you ever see a college basketball coach inflating his own basketballs?
We know the answer to those questions. And it’s the same answer when I ask if you’ve ever seen the NCAA sanction a school for any infractions by a baseball team.
As for tonight’s game, I wish all the players in the College World Series luck, but rest assured that I’ll be pulling for Coach Paul and the LSU Tigers.