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June 17, 2014
LSU 2013-14: Top coaches
This is the second of a series reviewing the 2013-14 LSU athletic year.
D-D Breaux, Gymnastics
37 seasons at LSU
SKINNY: D-D Breaux is approaching 40 years as the LSU gymnastics coach. But, her teams are delivering more and more impressive results in recent seasons. This past spring, LSU ended third in the NCAA championships - the best finish in school history - behind co-champions Florida and Oklahoma. Moreover, Breaux was selected the National Gymnastics Coach of the Year. Under Breaux, LSU has reached the Super Six four times, but two of those visits have come in the past two seasons. Breaux finds herself competing in the best league in the country as the Tigers also finished third in the Southeastern Conference championships behind Alabama and Florida. LSU finished one spot higher than the Crimson Tide in the Super Six.
STATS AND FACTS: LSU won its 13th NCAA regional title under Breaux. . .The Tigers were 11-0 at the PMAC with dual meet victories against Auburn and Alabama. . .Breaux now has 650 career victories. . .Breaux was the Central Region Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career.
Chuck Winstead, Men's golf
9 seasons at LSU
SKINNY: It had been 25 years since LSU was a factor on the national stage in men's golf. But, coach Chuck Winstead nearly brought the Tigers a national championship this spring. LSU was defeated by eventual national champion Alabama in the semifinals. The third-place finish in the national championships was the best for LSU since it ended third in 1967. The Tigers were the SEC runners-up to Alabama - their highest finish also in 25 years. LSU has not won the SEC men's golf title since 1987. Under Winstead, the Tigers have appeared in a regional the past seven years.
STATS AND FACTS: For the first time in 25 years, the Tigers finished in the top ten in the country. In that 1989 season, LSU finished tied for eighth when its top golfer was a senior named David Toms. The Tigers beat UCLA in the quarterfinals. . .John Peterson and Andrew Loupe are professional golfers who were recruited to LSU by Winstead.
Paul Mainieri, Baseball
8 seasons at LSU
SKINNY: In late March, the LSU baseball team was scuffling. The Tigers went without a victory for five straight games - a tie with Georgia, a loss at Tulane and a three-game sweep at the hands of Florida in Gainesville. But, Mainieri continued to believe in his young Tigers squad which had no three-year starters. With one week remaining in the regular season, LSU was sixth in the SEC standings. LSU swept Auburn and ended up as the No. 3 seed in the SEC tournament. Then, the Tigers swept four games en route to a second straight conference tournament championship. For the second consecutive year, LSU beat the conference champion in the tournament finals - Florida this year and Vanderbilt in 2013. The Tigers were a national seed in the NCAA tournament, but lost to Houston in the finals of the regional at The Box.
STATS AND FACTS: LSU won its fifth SEC tournament title with Mainieri as coach. . .The Tigers played host to a regional for the fifth time. . .LSU finished with a 46-16-1 record. In his eight seasons with the Tigers, Mainieri has a 361-149-3 record. . .For the fifth time in the past six years, Mainieri had a player drafted in the first round of the major league baseball draft - Jared Mitchell (2009), Anthony Ranaudo (2010), Mikie Mahtook (2011), Kevin Gausman (2012) and Aaron Nola (2014).
Fran Flory, Volleyball
16 seasons at LSU
SKINNY: The LSU volleyball team had been in a little slump since winning the SEC title in 2009. The Tigers went three consecutive years without winning a NCAA tournament match. In addition, LSU had not defeated a ranked team since 2010. Fran Flory's young squad snapped both of those droughts in 2013 with its first-round NCAA tournament victory against No. 24 Michigan. LSU, which had a 19-13 overall record, was 8-10 in the SEC. However, the Tigers' good showing in the NCAA tournament - the victory against Michigan and a four-set loss to No. 3 national seed Washington in the second round - should provide them with confidence heading into the 2014 campaign.
STATS AND FACTS: LSU reached the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. . .The Tigers had lost 18 consecutive matches against top-25 teams. . .LSU has made seven NCAA tournament appearances in the past nine seasons. . .The five-set victory against the Wolverines was the Tigers' ninth five-set victory of the season which matched the school record set in 1985.
Dennis Shaver, Men and women's track
10 seasons at LSU
SKINNY: Just like football and baseball, there are lofty expectations for the LSU men and women's track programs. In Dennis Shaver's first nine years as coach, the track program had 21 top-four finishes in NCAA indoor and outdoor championships and 23 top-three finishes in SEC indoor and outdoor championships. It appeared that Shaver was going to have one of his poorest years in 2014. During the indoor seasons, the highest finish for LSU was sixth place for the women in the SEC championships. Then, in the SEC outdoor championships, the women finished eighth and the men sixth. But, Shaver got his teams to respond in a positive manner in the NCAA championships. The men finished in a fourth-place tie, while the women ended in sixth place.
STATS AND FACTS: With Shaver as coach, the women's track program has won seven SEC titles - five outdoors and two indoors - and one outdoors national championship.
Next: Top players in 2013-14