Demie Mainieri, legendary baseball coach at Miami Dade College and a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, died Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 90.
Mainieri coached Miami-Dade for 30 years beginning in 1960. In only his third year at the junior college, Mainieri led the Falcons to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship in 1964. He finished as national runner-up three more times and became the first JUCO coach to win 1,000 games. Mainieri, who was also Miami-Dade’s athletic director, finished his career with 1,012 wins, all with the Falcons. More than 100 of his former players were either drafted or signed by MLB teams and 30 of those eventually made it all the way up to the Majors.
Mainieri is a member of seven halls of fame, including the NJCAA Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He earned his spot in the NJCAA’s hall in 1983 and was invited into the College Baseball Hall in 2014.
In 2014 Paul Mainieri, the coach of the LSU Tigers and Mainieri’s son, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, making the Mainieris the first father-son duo in the ABCA Hall of Fame. He spoke about his father’s influence at his induction.
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“Obviously, he means everything to me,” Mainieri said. “Not only was he a tremendous father to me and my four siblings as we grew up, he was a great mentor to me as I chose the coaching profession. He always emphasized to me that a coach was a teacher, first and foremost. He has been my most trusted counsel, and I lean on him very much.”
A New Jersey native, Mainieri attended West Virginia, and got his start in coaching as an assistant football coach for the Mountaineers and College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Little.