BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - USA Baseball named LSU head coach Paul Mainieri as the recipient of the 2018 Rod Dedeaux Award on Friday, according to LSU Athletics.
The award is named after University of Southern California and U.S. Olympic head coach Rod Dedeaux, who helped create the annual USA versus Japan international friendship series in 1972.
Mainieri is the second LSU coach to receive the honor. Skip Bertman won the Rod Dedeaux Award after coaching the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team.
“When I received the news that I was to receive the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year Award, it literally brought tears to my eyes,” Mainieri said. “To receive something with the name ‘Rod Dedeaux’ on it moved me to tears because of the immense respect that I have for Rod. He is the ‘godfather of college baseball coaching’, a pioneer in the development of international baseball, and he was (MLB Hall of Fame manager) Tommy Lasorda’s best friend. The interactions that I had with him are times that I will always cherish.
“That along with this being an award from USA Baseball, our nation’s baseball organization, and seeing the list of previous winners, including two of my mentors, Skip Bertman and Tommy Lasorda, makes this one of the most special recognitions that I’ve received in my career.”
The organization honored Mainieri for his performance last summer as LSU head coach of the USA Collegiate National Team. He led the team last year led the Collegiate National Team last summer to series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba.
“What a phenomenal group of young men that we lined up with every day,” Mainieri said. “I love them all and am so appreciative of the attitude they brought to the field every day. Although they are the best players in college baseball, there were no egos, only dedication to the team and a tremendous will to win. My life has been enriched having had the opportunity to get to know these wonderful people, and I will be their biggest fan as they go forward in their baseball careers.”
Mainieri will be honored this summer at the Golden Spikes Award and Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner in Los Angeles.