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LSU’s Jay Johnson gives take on Paul Mainieri going to South Carolina

Former LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who left the game in 2021, is coming out of retirement to join an SEC rival.

Mainieri is expected to be the next head coach at South Carolina, according to multiple reports. While that hire hasn’t been officially announced, LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson essentially confirmed it during a press conference on Tuesday, saying that Mainieri called him to let him know he was accepting the job.

“He called me yesterday and I just congratulated him,” Johnson said. “He’s earned the right at this time in his life to choose what he wants to do. He’s a great coach, Hall of Fame coach, and has been very good to me in my time here. Happy for him. He’s a competitive guy, he’s got that fire, he’ll put good people around him, he’s smart. And he’ll probably be really good. I’m happy for coach if that’s what he wants to do.”

Johnson was also asked about the prospects of competing against Mainieri for the first time, but that doesn’t seem to be on his radar at this point.

“I’ve never even really thought about that because I’ve never coached against him period,” Johnson said. “Those kinds of things, I guess they matter. They don’t matter as much as everybody thinks they do, because if Paul Skenes is on the mound, I’ll win.”

Mainieri won a national title in 2009 at LSU and finished as the College World Series runner-up in 2017. Now, after spending 15 years in Baton Rouge, Mainieri will be coaching from the other dugout when the Tigers face the Gamecocks next season.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire