June 19, 2003

Notre Dame head baseball coach Paul Mainieri will serve as the in-studio analyst for this weekend’s College World Series coverage on College Sports Television (CTSV, DirectTV channel 610), with the 30-minute shows set to air from 6:30-7:00 EDT (5:30-6:00 in South Bend) on Sat., June 21, and Sun., June 22. The pair of studio shows – called CSTV Primetive: NCAA Baseball Championship Special – will air before Saturday’s first CWS championship series game (which starts at 7:00 EDT) and then after Sunday’s second game (2:30 EDT) of the best-of-three title series. See www.cstv.com for more information on CSTV.

Mainieri has guided Notre Dame to a 144-49-1 record during the past three seasons, representing the nation’s fifth-most wins during that three-year stretch. His 741-439-1 career record (.628) in 21 total seasons includes 180-121 at St. Thomas, Fla. (’83-’88), 152-158 at Air Force (’89-’94) and 399-160-1 (.714) in nine seasons with the Irish (’95-’03). Mainieri’s Notre Dame career includes six BIG EAST Conference titles and six trips to the NCAAs (’96, ’99-’03), the program’s first No. 1 ranking in 2001 and Notre Dame’s first CWS trip since 1957 (in ’02).

The winningest coach in BIG EAST regular-season history (.741, 137-48 in BIG EAST games), Mainieri was the nation’s only coach to repeat as ABCA regional coach of the year (Mideast), in 2002, and his squads have extended Nore Dame’s streak of seasons with 40-plus wins to 15, the nation’s third-longest active streak behind Florida State and Wichita State (both 26).

Mainieri has seen 33 of his Notre Dame players move on to pro ball, including 12 drafted in the first 10 rounds and a pair of first-round pitchers (Brad Lidge in ’98, Aaron Heilman in ’01) – with Lidge currently starring for the Houston Astros as a top setup man while Heilman is close to be a big-league callup with the New York Mets (currently with the triple-A Norfolk Tides).

Every player in the Mainieri era who has completed his eligibility with the Irish has graduated from Notre Dame (53 of 53) while the eight who were signed after their junior seasons have returned to complete or near completion of their graduation requirements (including two-time Academic All-American Brian Stavisky).

Mainieri’s 2003 Notre Dame squad overcame the loss of five position starters from the 2002 CWS team and the preseason surgery that sidelined ace pitcher Grant Johnson, with the ’03 Irish becoming the first BIG EAST team since 1986 to repeat as the BIG EAST Tournament champion en route to a 45-18 overall record. Notre Dame knocked off Arizona in the NCAA Regionals before dropping a 4-3 game to regional host Cal State Fullerton (one of the three teams left in the runnnig for the CWS title) – with the Irish then fighting off elimination with a win over San Diego before a season-ending loss to CSF.

An unprecedented three Notre Dame players – senior closer J.P. Gagne, junior second baseman Steve Sollmann and sophomore starting pitcher Chris Niesel – earned 2003 All-America honors, with Gagne and Sollmann adding the rare double distinction as Academic All-America honorees.