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LSU wanted O’Connor to succeed Mainieri, but Oaks wasn’t interested

By Jerry Ratcliffe

paul mainieri

Paul Mainieri

With a resume like Brian O’Connor’s, there’s no doubt that he’s a target for big-time coaching searches like LSU.

Certainly, Oaks, as he’s affectionately called, was on LSU’s radar when longtime Tigers coach Paul Mainieri announced his 14th season would be his last. Without a doubt, it was on Mainieri’s mind at the end of his LSU career.

Mainieri and O’Connor are like brothers. Mainieri hired O’Connor as a 23-year-old assistant coach at Notre Dame, starting a lifelong relationship. O’Connor has said many times that Mainieri was one of his mentors.

Mainieri recommended O’Connor for the Virginia job to former UVA AD Craig Littlepage and associate AD Jon Oliver. Mainieri also insisted upon O’Connor being his pitching coach for the USA team a couple of years ago in a non-Olympic year.

Still, when it came to attempting to get O’Connor to succeed him at LSU, it just didn’t work.

Mainieri talked about trying to lure O’Connor to Baton Rouge during my podcast (you can listen to the entire podcast at or

“I wish I could have talked [O’Connor] into leaving Virginia and coming to replace me at LSU, but he wouldn’t bite,” Mainieri said. “He loves Virginia. He wants to be the coach at Virginia and nowhere else,” Mainieri.


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