LSU AD Joe Alleva: ‘No-brainer’ to keep Paul Mainieri, who continues to excel as competition improves _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU head coach Paul Mainieri speaks with athletic director Joe Alleva in the dugout before the Tigers' game against UNC-Wilmington during the NCAA Division I Baton Rouge Baseball Regional, Monday, June 1, 2015, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

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With no agents involved, athletic director Joe Alleva met with LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri Thursday morning, a talk Alleva described Friday as ‘just a conversation with Paul and myself” on Culotta & The Prince on 104.5/104.9 ESPN Radio in Baton Rouge.

The two met as reports swirled about another school -- multiple sources confirmed it was Texas -- that had reached out to Mainieri about a head coaching job.

After LSU administrators offered Mainieri a significant boost in pay, he rebuffed that other school. Mainieri said Thursday he was not offered a job by another institution and he declined to comment on whether the administration offered him a pay raise.

“The landscape of college baseball has changed tremendously over the years and for us to be, in my opinion, the best baseball school in the country with the facilities we have, the tradition and the history,” Alleva said. “And Paul’s still doing a great job of putting us in position to win. For me, it was a no-brainer to make sure he stays here.”

In an eight-minute interview Friday morning, Alleva praised Mainieri’s consistency while further detailing the evolution college baseball that includes scholarship limitations and roster limits not present years ago.

“We have the most knowledgeable baseball fans in the country, but I don’t think they realize that the game has changed over the years tremendously with NCAA rules,” Alleva said. “It’s really equalized the playing field in college baseball where in the old days, you may have had 40 to 50 guys on our roster. Now you can only have 35 guys on your roster. You used to be able to get a kid just by giving him a book scholarship to come, now you can’t do that anymore, you have to give the kid 25 percent of the scholarship to come. What I’m trying to say is, the equalizer, the talent, there’s talent at other schools that, in the old days, would be sitting our bench here at LSU.”

Alleva said he and Mainieri discussed “the entire program” in their Thursday sit-down, including “possible new staff members” and an addition to Alex Box Stadium for a weight room.

Though Mainieri declined to reveal specifics in an exclusive interview with The Advocate on Thursday, the tenth-year coach said his dalliance with another school debunked thoughts of being underappreciated or taken for granted by players and administration.

“It’s a good feeling to be wanted,” Mainieri said. “It motivates me, it inspires me and it rejuvenates me.”

Added Alleva: “Coach Mainieri is one of the best coaches in the country. He runs a quality program and puts us in position to compete for championships. It was my intention all along to keep him here. I think he runs a great program, and my intention from the very beginning was to keep him here and, hopefully, keep him here until he retires.”