Clemson Baseball Rivalry with Gamecocks Gets New Fuel With Coaching Moves

South Carolina made a series of moves that should add extra fuel to Clemson’s yearly matchups in non-conference.
Paul Mainieri takes the field as The LSU Tigers take on Southern Miss in the 2019 NCAA Regional Tournament in Baton Rouge, LA. Sunday, June 2, 2019.
Paul Mainieri takes the field as The LSU Tigers take on Southern Miss in the 2019 NCAA Regional Tournament in Baton Rouge, LA. Sunday, June 2, 2019. / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network via Imagn
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South Carolina officially announced the hiring of new baseball coach Paul Mainieri, a hire that had a ripple effect across college baseball and should directly impact Clemson’s yearly matchups with the Gamecocks, along with their recruiting battles in-state.

Mainieri left coaching after the 2021 season at LSU, where he led the Tigers to an NCAA Super Regional. He left at the top of his profession, as he guided LSU to a 2009 national championship, went to six College World Series with LSU (five) and Notre Dame (one), along with four SEC regular-season titles, six SEC Tournament titles and 10 NCAA regional titles.

He was also a two-time SEC Coach of the Year and a four-time National Coach of the Year. And, he’s a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He returns to coaching as the active leader in wins, with 1,505.

He replaces Mark Kingston, who was fired after the Gamecocks lost in the NCAA regionals.

His hiring immediately gives the Gamecocks more heft this offseason when it comes to recruiting and the transfer portal. While South Carolina has been to the NCAA Tournament three of the last four seasons, the Gamecocks have not been to the College World Series since 2012 and have not won the title since 2011.

But, if you’re thinking about the rivalry, it gets better.

Former Clemson coach Monte Lee, who led the Tigers from 2016-22, will remain with the Gamecocks as their associated head coach and hitting coach, a role he filled under Kingston.

In the process, he got a raise. Per The State, Lee got a substantial raise and will receive $550,000 per year on a three-year deal. It makes him the highest-paid assistant coach in college baseball.

It should make the annual games between the Tigers and the Gamecocks a little juicier, as if there isn’t enough animosity between the two most prominent Division I schools in the state.

Clemson baseball is coming off a Super Regionals loss to Florida last weekend.

This season the Tigers and Gamecocks played a pair of games in early March — one at Clemson and another at Segra Park, which is a minor-league park in Columbia.  


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Matt Postins

MATT POSTINS