Three years ago I decided to rank LSU's coaches, admitting there was no scientific method at all.
And, I understand there is no way you can rate a football coach against a tennis coach.
This was back when some politicians were threatening no football for LSU in the future because of economic reasons at LSU.
That sounds even more absurd now. But that was an election year. Strange things happen, especially in Louisiana around election time.
Finishing second in the recent NCAA Gymnastics Final Four and first in the SEC (quite a feat in itself) keeps D.D. Breaux at the top in my book. Her obvious knowledge of gymnastics along with her never waving enthusiasm for LSU has Breaux earning a gold medal.
LSU gymnastics is a happening at LSU and draws more crowds than most sports at the Baton Rouge university.
Breaux is the dean of coaches at LSU, and not just in number of coaching years, 42 if you are counting.
Breaux has not won a championship -- yet -- but what she has accomplished at a school best known for its football and baseball is phenomenal.
Talk about some tough shoes to fill when this lady decides to hang it up. And she hasn't even had to have hip surgery to keep going.
Led by Breaux, LSU has seen increasing accomplishments that includes 16 NCAA Championships appearances in the last 17 seasons, seven Super Six appearances since 2008 and 12 individual national titles since 2002.
Friday night inside the Maravich Center is a major attraction in Baton Rouge, and the attendance records have been rewritten thanks to the hard work by Breaux and her staff. In 2018, LSU sold out the PMAC against Alabama and Kentucky. LSU set the single-meet attendance record with 13,729 in the arena to watch the Tigers take down the Crimson Tide.
Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.
I had Les Miles at No. 3 three years ago. We're not in Kansas anymore, but Les is.
I had Lady Tiger softball coach Beth Torina at No. 2.
I'm putting Ed Orgeron at No. 2 now. Maybe I should put Dave Aranda at 2A.
Orgeron was not the most popular hire to replace Miles, but he has had LSU competitive the past couple of years, and is doing what he does best - bringing in top recruits.
And -- like Breaux -- his enthusiasm has won over a lot of Tiger fans.
This year will be a pivotal year for Orgeron, as LSU fans can be happy about a New Year's Day bowl for just so long.
No coach has more pressure on them at LSU than Orgeron. But he's proven he handle the pressure and compete in the nation's best conference.
And if keeps the commitments he has right now for 2020 -- happy days are here again.
So do I dare put Will Wade at No. 3?
Well, right now he is the men's basketball coach at LSU.
And winning an SEC championship against the likes of Kentucky and Tennessee looks good on anybody's resume.
Until he is unseated as LSU's men's coach, Wade will remain at No. 3.
To have to basically rebuild every year is quite a task at any school not named Duke, North Carolina or Kentucky.
If Wade can come out of this investigation unscathed he deserves props. But how difficult will recruiting be over the next couple of years? Either way, LSU men's basketball is facing an uncertain future.
I throw Torina in at No. 4.
She may have to get back to the College World Series to stay there. But that's the kind of pressure you put on yourself when you are successful.
Torina returned the Tigers to national prominence with two 50-win seasons, four 40-win seasons and four trips to the Women's College World Series in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017 already to her credit in her short time in Baton Rouge.
Since taking the reins of the program prior to the 2012 season, Torina has now led the Tigers to the pinnacle of the sport more than any other LSU head coach, while becoming the first to lead the team to Oklahoma City in consecutive seasons in program history. She is averaging 45 wins per season in Baton Rouge, leading a ranked side that has featured in the top ten for much of the last four seasons. Along with UCLA, LSU is the only other school with three consecutive trips to the Women's College World Series (2015, 2016, 2017). Under Torina, the Tigers have played a Top 10 strength of schedule ever year. In 2014, the Tigers had the nation’s toughest schedule and in 2017 and 2015, they had the second-toughest schedule.
The 2018 season saw the second most home wins in school history with a total of 35 in Tiger Park. The Tigers made their 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, winning the Baton Rouge Regional for the third straight season.
So who would move ahead of Torina, and possibly Wade?
A guy who had the tough task or succeeding Smoke Laval.
Poor Mainieri can never please everyone.That's why he is at No. 5.
Thanks for that Skip Bertman.
And if you have a top three recruiting class in baseball it can be detrimental as the Major League Baseball Draft is right around the corner with all your signees waiting on an offer.
Mainieri, a four-time National Coach of the Year, joined his father, Demie Mainieri, as the only father-son combination in the ABCA Hall of Fame.
Spanning 12 seasons, the Paul Mainieri Era at LSU has been distinguished by tremendous success in all facets of the Fighting Tiger baseball program.
Mainieri has guided the Tigers to the 2009 College World Series national championship and five CWS appearances. During Mainieri's tenure, LSU has captured a remarkable 29 team championships, including the 2009 NCAA title, seven NCAA Regional championships, five NCAA Super Regional championships, four Southeastern Conference championships, six SEC Tournament titles and six SEC Western Division crowns.
Mainieri was appointed in the fall of 2017 as the head coach of the United States Collegiate National Team for its 2018 summer tour. He worked as an assistant coach for Team USA in 2015.
Most recently, Mainieri directed the 2018 Tigers to an NCAA Regional appearance, where LSU advanced to the regional final against eventual national champion Oregon State. LSU in 2018 also advanced to the SEC Tournament championship game, becoming the first team seeded lower than fourth in the current tournament format to reach the final game.
Mainieri has a 551-229-3 (.706) mark at LSU, and he has the second-highest winning percentage in SEC history, trailing only former LSU coach Skip Bertman, who was 870-330-3 (.724) in 18 seasons from 1984-2001.
At. No. 6 is track and field coach Dennis Shaver, who is probably the most unsung coach at LSU.
Mondo Duplantis should get him a lot of ink.
When Shaver ascended to the rank of head coach of the LSU Track & Field program in July 2004, he was given the reigns of a national power recognized worldwide for its dominance at the collegiate level while racking up a total of 30 NCAA team championships in its history.
Expectations were high, but Shaver had experienced LSU's success first-hand as he helped coach the Tigers and Lady Tigers to a combined 12 national championships while serving as an assistant coach for nine seasons from 1996-2004. It came as no surprise when he was asked to continue LSU's championship tradition when the position opened in the wake of the 2004 season.
The Lady Tigers were crowned national champions during the 2008 outdoor season and have won a total of seven Southeastern Conference championships during his tenure. While sweeping SEC Indoor and SEC Outdoor titles in 2008 and 2011, the Lady Tigers have also captured outdoor title during the 2007, 2010 and 2012 seasons.
The Lady Tigers have also added 10 trophy performances with top-four finishes at the NCAA Championships in 13 previous seasons under Shaver’s guidance, including three second-place finishes, five third-place finishes and one fourth-place finish along with their national championship in 2008.
The Tigers have added to their trophy case as well while racking up 14 team trophies with a top-four finish at the NCAA Championships as they have earned five second-place finishes, one third-place finish and eight fourth-place finishes between the indoor and outdoor seasons. The Tigers also scored six second-place finishes and three third-place finishes at the SEC Championships under Shaver.
In all, Shaver’s teams have combined for 26 top-three finishes at the SEC Championships and 24 top-four finishes at the NCAA Championships between the indoor and outdoor seasons going back to his debut season as LSU’s head coach in 2005.
At No. 7 is LSU men's golf coach Chuch Winstead.
Players, coaches, fans and recruits across the country recognize LSU among the premier programs in college golf as the Tigers have reached unparalleled heights in 13 seasons under head coach Chuck Winstead. While capturing the program's fifth national championship in 2015, the Tigers advanced to the Match Play Eight in three-straight years from 2014-16, cracked the Top 10 nationally at the NCAA Championships in four of the last five years and qualified for the NCAA Championships eight times in the last nine seasons since making their breakthrough in 2010.
In the summer of 2018, Winstead was promoted to the Director of LSU Golf. Winstead is the winningest coach in LSU men's golf history. He led the Tigers to their first SEC championship in more than 30 years and the first NCAA championship since 1955 in 2015. He will take on oversight of both LSU golf teams in his role as Director of Golf, while continuing with his responsibilities as the men's head coach. Winstead is going into his 14th season as the head men's golf coach after serving as the Director of Instruction at LSU's home course, The University Club.
June 3, 2015, is a day that will live long in the memory of the LSU Tigers.
It was on that day at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, when head coach Chuck Winstead and the Tigers lifted the national championship trophy for the fifth time in school history and the first time in 60 years. With a 4-1 defeat of the USC Trojans in the NCAA Championship Match, the Tigers capped a historic run at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships and returned to the top of college golf.
At. No. 8 is LSU tennis coaches Andy and Chris Brandi.
One of the most successful coaches in the history of college tennis, Andy Brandi joined the LSU men’s tennis program in 2017 as co-head coach along with his son Chris.
In his first season as co-head coach of the LSU men’s tennis team, Andy Brandi led the Tigers to 10 overall wins and two SEC victories.
Prior to LSU, Andy Brandi served on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Player Development staff as a national coach since 2010.
At No. 9 I have LSU soccer coach Brian Lee. I just like the fact he is from England.
And, finally at No. 10, I have LSU women's basketball coach Nikki Fargas.
Three years ago, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma did not endear himself to a number of LSU fans after the Lady Huskies dominated the Lady Tigers 76-53 in the PMAC.
"The talent level is just completely different," Auriemma said. "From where it was to where it is today, it's not even the same program. You can't even put it in the same category from back then. I don't know all the reasons why, but when that happens it takes a while to get it back."
The truth hurts.
And, sure, there are people who don't like Geno because his team dominated the sport for awhile.
I have always liked Geno, and always enjoyed the features showing him behind the scenes. He is brutally honest, very witty, has a great gift of gab, and loves his team and the sport of college basketball.
And I was impressed with how well he handled being upset by Mississippi State last year.
But getting back to the quote.
How has LSU, which was a regular in the NCAA Tournament with Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles, struggled to stay in contention the past few years.
And Pat Summitt is no longer at Tennessee.
I like Fargas. She is genuine, she appears to do a good job of recruiting, and I love her enthusiasm during games. But the bottom line is results.
LSU went 16-13 overall and 7-9 in the SEC last year.
If everything works out for Wade, Fargas may be the next coach to go.
Maybe Kim Mulkey would be interested in the job. Or she can step over to the men's job like she has been promoting for if things don't work out for Wade.
Check back in 2022 for an update.