AMITE--The LSU Baseball Fundraiser is set for Thursday, Jan. 24, according to longtime sponsor Dr. Nick Cefalu of Amite.
Popular Elvis tribute artist Jason Baglio of the Independence area will open the evening with entertainment from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
At 7 p.m.: invocation and meal. After the meal LSU Coach Paul Mainieri will speak. He'll introduce players and recognize guests.
At 8:15, the closing prayer and more autographs.
Coach Mainieri will be joined by 2-3 of his players at the benefit dinner at Amite Community Center.
They'll be signing baseballs and autographs.
Tickets are $125 per couple. Tickets include appetizers, dinner and address by Coach Mainieri. As always, children are welcome and encouraged to get autographs.
Time: 5:30-9:00 p.m., with the first hour and a half a social time.
Dr. Cefalu has hosted the annual event for the past 13 years or so to benefit the LSU baseball program. Tickets are available at Dr. Cefalu's office: 112 East Chestnut St., 985-748-3272.
When Paul Mainieri was hired as LSU's baseball coach in June 2006, he expressed a clear vision for the future of the Fighting Tiger program.
"Make no mistake about it," he said. "The goal is to return LSU to the pinnacle position in college baseball. I have all the confidence in the world we can do that here."
Just three years later, LSU did indeed occupy that pinnacle position in college baseball as the 2009 NCAA National Champions.
Mainieri directed the Tigers to the College World Series title, posting a 56-17 overall record, including a 10-1 mark in NCAA Tournament competition.
The Tigers defeated Texas in the CVWS Championship Finals to win the national title, LSU's sixth CVWS championship and its first since 2000.
The 2009 national championship is one of the many highlights of Mainieri's six- season tenure at LSU which has featured two College World Series appearances, three NCAA Regional titles, two Southeastern Conference championships, three SEC Tournament titles and three SEC Western Division crowns.
Mainieri reached a coaching milestone on the second playing date of the 2010 season as he earned his 1,000th career victory when LSU defeated Centenary 25-8 on February 20 in Alex Box Stadium.
Entering his 31st season as a college head coach, Mainieri is one of only six active NCAA coaches to have won a national championship and 1,000 games during his career.
Mainieri is already the second winningest coach in LSU history with a 258-122-2 mark in six seasons, trailing only the legendary Skip Bertram (870-330-3 from 1984-2001) in Fighting TIger annals.
Mainieri's commitment to academic excellence has been illustrated by the Tigers' performance in the classroom as 64 LSU players have received SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition over the past six seasons.
Four of Mainieri's LSU players have already reached the Major Leagues, including pitcher Louis Coleman (Royals), infielder DJ LeMahieu (Club/Rockies), pitcher Charlie Furbush (Tigers/Mariners) and pitcher Ryan Verdugo.
Thirty-four LSU players have been chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft during Mainieri's tenure, including a first-round selection in each of the past four sessions-outfielder Jared Mitchell in 2009, pitcher Anthony Ranaudo in 2010, outfielder Mike Mahtook in 2011 and pitcher Kevin Gusman in 2012.
All four players developed into first-round selections under Mainieri after being drafted out of high school (Mitchell, 10th round, Ranaudo, 11th round; Mahtook, 39th; Gusman, 6th round).
Mainieri has established an active community service foundation within the baseball program, as the Tigers regularly visit hospitals and schools in the Baton Rouge area. The team also participated in the ALS Walk--promoting awareness of the treatment of Lou Gehrig's Disease--and in the Buddy Walk, which is designed to encourage acceptance and inclusion of people with Down's Syndrome.
Mainieri is personally involved in several philanthropic causes, including Cancer Services of Baton Rouge, the ALS Association, the Mental Health Association of Greater Baton Rouge, Prevent Child Abuse and the McMains Development Center for Children.
It is Mainieri's goal to finish his collegiate baseball career in the same place it began 37 years ago. He earned a letter in 1976 as a freshman outfielder at LSU, where he also met his future wife, Karen, then a Fighting Tiger cheerleader.
He completed his playing career at the University of New Orleans, and, after enjoying great success as a head coach at St. Thomas (Fla.) University, the US Air Force Academy and Notre Dame, Mainieri returned to Baton Rouge for the 2007 season.
A four-year letter winner in college, Mainieri played one season at LSU, one season for his father, legendary JUCO coach Demie Mainieri at Miami-Dade North Community College, and two seasons at the University of New Orleans. The second baseman helped the Privateers win two Sun Belt Conference titles and advance to the 1979 NCAA Tournament during his senior season.
After completing his undergraduate degree requirements at Florida International (1980), Mainieri played two minor-league seasons before earning a master's in sports administration from St. Thomas in 1982.
Mainieri's coaching career began at his alma mater, Columbus High School in Miami, where he served as assistant baseball and football coach for three years before taking over at St. Thomas in fall 1982. He also spent the final three years at St. Thomas as director of athletics.
Born August 29, 1957 in Morgantown, W. Va., Mainieri and wife Karen have four children: Nicholas (28), Alexandra (27), Samantha (25) and Thomas (17). Samantha gave birth in January 2011 to Holden Brooks Roth, the Mainieris' first grandchild.