BRCC Athletics aiming for ‘championship program’ following the hiring of two LSU icons

Two former LSU coaches are furthering their impact on Baton Rouge athletics through new positions at Baton Rouge Community College.

Paul Mainieri, LSU Baseball’s head coach from 2007 to 2021, and John Brady, LSU Basketball’s head coach from 1997 to 2008, are now serving as BRCC’s baseball special advisor to the head coach and basketball special assistant to the head coach, respectively.

“They bring a wealth of experience and legitimacy to our program,” says BRCC Athletic Director Brock Kantrow. “Hiring coaches like that at a junior college is somewhat unheard of, right?”

During his time at LSU, Paul Mainieri brought home an NCAA championship in 2009 and four SEC championships. John Brady earned two SEC regular season champion titles while coaching at LSU.

In their new positions, Coach Mainieri is involved as a mentor for BRCC’s baseball head coach, Thomas Simoneaux, and he’s attending practices when possible.

Coach Brady has a more day-to-day role, assisting in some practices, games, recruiting and fundraising while working with Head Coach Byron Starks. The partnerships began with Coach Brady, who has been a friend of Kantrow for decades.

After he was hired, the pair was dining at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux when they ran into Coach Mainieri. That chance encounter sparked a conversation about Coach Mainieri joining the staff—which Kantrow calls a perfect fit, given his family history.

“His father was a junior college baseball coach,” Kantrow says. “He grew up understanding junior college baseball.”

The response from the BRCC community has been positive, especially from the players. Kantrow says the teams are “blown away” that iconic Baton Rouge coaches are invested in their athletic careers.

He’s proud of his current coaching staff and says these additions will only add to their hard work and talent.

“People have no understanding of how difficult it is to be a junior college coach,” he explains. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

Overall, the department is optimistic that the program is headed for growth.

“We don’t want to have just a regular program,” Kantrow says. “We want to have a championship program.”

The Bears Baseball Team just kicked off its fall season, with its next game taking place at Alex Box Stadium on Sept. 24 against the LA Knights. The BRCC Men’s Basketball Team will begin its season on Nov. 1 with a home game against Hinds Community College.