When you have been successfully coaching as long as LSU's Paul Mainieri has — 2017 marks his 35th season — you’re bound to leave a wide-ranging trail of influence behind.
Eleven of Mainieri’s former assistant coaches and players are current college head coaches. What’s particularly interesting: Four of them are on LSU’s schedule this season.
Mainieri will waste no time facing off against one of his protégés: LSU opens the season Friday night against Air Force, coached by Mike Kazlausky, a former Mainieri player and assistant.
Games against former players/assistants in 2017
Feb. 17, 19: Mike Kazlausky, Air Force
Feb. 21, March 15: Blake Dean, UNO
April 18: Will Davis, Lamar
May 18-20: Andy Cannizaro, Mississippi State
Former assistant coaches (career record in parentheses)
Brian O’Connor, Virginia (596-223-2): Five-time ACC coach of the year, three-time national coach of the year. A Mainieri assistant at Notre Dame from 1995-2003.
Cliff Godwin, East Carolina (78-44-1): Spent two seasons as a Mainieri assistant at Notre Dame (2005-06) before following him for two more at LSU (2007-08).
Andy Cannizaro, Mississippi State (0-0): Was LSU’s hitting coach for the past two seasons before Mississippi State hired him to replace John Cohen.
Will Davis, Lamar (35-19): His LSU playing career ended the year before Mainieri took over in 2007, but Davis spent seven seasons (2009-15) as a volunteer assistant under Mainieri before taking the Lamar job last year.
Corey Mee, Toledo (305-398-1): About to begin his 13th season as Toledo’s coach. Was an assistant under Mainieri at Notre Dame (1995-99).
Dave Shrage, Butler (732-806-2): Shrage has been coaching for more than three decades, and he got his start under Mainieri at St. Thomas as a graduate assistant (1984).
Mike Kazlausky, Air Force (124-204-6): Kazlausky was an all-conference player for Mainieri at Air Force (1989-91), then joined him as an assistant (1993-95).
Blake Dean, UNO (31-26): Dean was one of Mainieri’s most prolific hitters at LSU (2007-10) and handled himself well in his first season as a head coach.
Elvis Dominguez, Bradley (370-422-3): Dominguez played under Mainieri, then an assistant, at Mainieri’s alma mater, Columbus High School in Miami. The head coach? Former Chicago Cubs general manger Jim Hendry.
Rick Hitt, South Florida Community College (record not available): Hitt, who just began his 17th season at SFCC, played under Mainieri at St. Thomas (1986-87).
Marty Smith, Central Florida Community College: Smith has been coach at CFCC for more nearly a quarter-century. He played for Mainieri at St. Thomas (1986-87).
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers general manager: Avila spent 1988 as Mainieri’s assistant at St. Thomas before taking over as head coach when Mainieri left for Air Force.
Eric Campbell, Team USA general manager: Campbell is the general manager for both the collegiate and professional national team. He was an assistant under Mainieri at St. Thomas and Air Force.
Terry Rooney, Alabama assistant coach: Rooney coached under Mainieri at Notre Dame (2004-06) and LSU (2007-08) before spending eight years as UCF’s head coach. He left for an assistant job at Alabama this offseason.