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Paul Mainieri to Become Head Coach at South Carolina

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Paul Mainieri to Become Head Coach at South Carolina


Here’s something I never thought I’d write: Paul Mainieri is back in the coaching game.

Monday afternoon it was reported that the former Tiger skipper has been lured out of retirement to take the head coaching position at South Carolina. Teddy Cahill of Baseball America and Kendall Rogers at D1 Baseball were among the first to have the scoop.

If we’re looking at this from just purely a credentials standpoint, this is a home run hire by South Carolina. Mainieri has amassed over 1,500 wins in his 39-year career. He’ll be the active leader in wins (1,505) when the 2025 season begins. At LSU he led LSU to the 2009 national championship and took the Tigers to Omaha on four other occasions, including a runner up finish in 2017. LSU won the SEC West six times, the SEC regular season title four times, and the SEC Tournament six times in the Mainieri era.

Mainieri posted a 641-285-3 record in his 15 seasons at LSU and his .692 winning percentage is the third best in league history behind only Skip Bertman and, fittingly enough, former South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. Tanner is now Mainieri’s AD at South Carolina. The Tigers earned a national seed for the NCAA Tournament nine times, including a run of six consecutive seasons from 2012-2017. Stanford is the only other program to accomplish a similar feat, doing so between 1999-2004.

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There is no doubt in the world that Mainieri is qualified to be a head coach of an SEC program. But Carolina tapping Mainieri now, heading into the 2025 season, is…interesting to say the least.

Mainieri will be 67 years old by the time first pitch rolls around next February. He also of course retired following the 2021 season and has been out of the game in each of the past three seasons. His 2009 national championship is going on 16 years ago and his last Omaha trip will have been eight years ago.

Mainieri also got out of college athletics before NIL became a thing and the transfer portal has turned into what it is now. And for a man who by his own omission retired because of health issues, is this really something he wants to do?

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Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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Who knows, maybe the three years away has recharged Mainieri’s batteries. Remember, a year ago his name was being floated for the head coaching job at Miami, and the year before that he was being linked to Notre Dame, where he spent 11 years at before coming to Baton Rouge. Maybe he truly misses coaching and getting to return to the SEC was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Mainieri will replace Mark Kingston, who was fired after the Gamecocks were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament. And if you’re wondering, yes LSU will play the Gamecocks in Columbia next season. Sorry Coach, but you’ll be Tiger Bait when that weekend comes around.



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South-Carolina

#STRecruiting: DT Eric Thomas down to two after official to South Carolina #Gamecocks

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#STRecruiting:  DT Eric Thomas down to two after official to South Carolina  #Gamecocks


Eric Thomas

DT Eric Thomas (6-3 305) of Lehigh Acres, FL made his official visits to South Carolina over the weekend. That was his third and final official visit before making his decision later this summer. USC defensive line coach Travian Robertson has been eyeing Thomas as someone who could fill a big hole in their defensive line going into the 2025 season.

“On the visit, they had all the players on defense go into a room and they played all of our tapes and compared them to how their players play,” he said.  “They showed us the chances we have with parts of their D-Line leaving next year.  They compared me to #90 (Tonka Hemingway).”

Thomas added that one of the highlights for him was being around head coach Shane Beamer and the other assistants.

“Coach Beamer, I really like him.  He’s cool,” Thomas said. “The vibe of the whole staff, they seem welcoming.  You know, they’re from the South  and we’re from the South too, so I feel like it’s a bond there.  And my D-Line coach TRob, he’s real cool.  He’s been in the NFL before, so being with him could be a similar experience to get me to where I’m trying to go.” 

Thomas also made official visits to Syracuse and Marshall. The visit to USC put the Gamecocks in a head to head battle with the Orange.

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“They are in my last two,” Thomas said.  “My two are Syracuse and South Carolina, those are my two options.  I’ll make my decision probably sometime in July, before my season starts.  It’s 50-50 right now.” 



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OU Softball: Former Sooner Lands at South Carolina

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OU Softball: Former Sooner Lands at South Carolina


Former Oklahoma utility player Quincee Lilio has comitted to South Carolina, Lilio announced on her Instagram on Sunday.

Lilio entered the transfer portal on June 10 alongside Avery Hodge and SJ Guerin.

All three former Sooners are staying in the Southeastern Conference, as Hodge is headed to LSU and Guerin landed at Auburn.

Lilio only made 31 trips to the plate in 2024, where she hit .129 with five RBIs, 10 walks and six strikeouts.

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She played both at second base and in the outfield in 2023, starting 12 games and appearing in 47 total contests for the Sooners.

As a redshirt freshman, she hit .275 with one home run, two doubles and a triple, tallying nine RBIs.

The Sooners landed their first addition out of the transfer portal last week in former North Carolina catcher Isabela Emerling.



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Predictions for the South Carolina football team’s two-deep on defense this fall

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Predictions for the South Carolina football team’s two-deep on defense this fall


South Carolina football is in the unique position of returning a lot of talent on defense this year while also bringing in a lot of new talent on that side of the ball.

Cornerback Marcellas Dial (6th round, New England Patriots) left the program via the NFL Draft, EDGE players Jordan Strachan (Tennessee Titans) and Tyreek Johnson (New York Jets) found themselves in NFL rookie training camps, and contributors like linebackers Pup Howard (Florida Gators) and Stone Blanton (Mississippi State Bulldogs) and defensive backs Keenan Nelson (Ohio State Buckeyes) and KaJuan Banks (South Florida Bulls) left in the transfer portal.

The transfer portal haul and talented freshman class surely will have several players who come in and contribute alongside the veteran returners for defensive coordinator Clayton White. The team added three defensive tackles, two EDGE players, two linebackers, and two defensive backs via transfer, and some of the top players from the group of freshmen are defensive players.

With a strong finish to the 2023 season (largely in conjunction with a switch to the 3-3-5 as the primary defensive look for the Gamecocks) and an influx of talent, there is optimism that USC could have a stout defense this fall.

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The two-deep on offense is difficult to project because of large amounts of uncertainty surrounding new or inexperienced players. The two-deep on defense is hard to predict because there are so many players talented enough to play a role this fall.

With so many potential contributors on that side of the ball, what might the two-deep on defense look like when USC takes the field for the season opener against Old Dominion on August 31st?



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