BATON ROUGE, La. - Andy Cannizaro, a New York Yankees scout for the past five years and a former MLB infielder, has been hired as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for the LSU baseball program, coach Paul Mainieri announced Monday.
Cannizaro replaces Javi Sanchez, who departed LSU earlier this month to pursue a business career.
Cannizaro, 35, a former all-America shortstop at Tulane who played in the big leagues for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, has worked as a Yankees scout since 2009, evaluating and recruiting amateur players in preparation for the annual MLB Draft.
"I am pleased to welcome Andy Cannizaro into the LSU family and as a member of our coaching staff in the baseball program," Mainieri said. "I believe Andy is a real star in the making and will have a tremendous impact on our program working alongside Alan Dunn, Will Davis, Nolan Cain and myself. His enthusiasm, intelligence, knowledge of the game, playing experience, familiarity with the area, and his contacts throughout baseball make him a perfect fit for this position.
"Our players will love Andy and will be excited to work with him. Recruits will respond to his genuineness and positive attitude. Everyone knows how much respect and adoration I have for Javi Sanchez. I think the best thing I can say about Andy is he brings many of the same qualities to our program as Javi did."
Cannizaro, a native of Mandeville, La., was the Yankees' official representative at the 2013 and 2014 MLB Drafts. He also worked as the advance scout for the team as it prepared for the 2011 and 2012 playoffs.
"I've worked with Andy for the past three years, and he is a tremendous human being," said Jim Hendry, the former general manager of the Chicago Cubs who now works as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "He's been a rising star within the Yankees organization who has earned so much respect for his talent as an instructor and talent evaluator. He has as much class and integrity as anyone you'll meet in the game of baseball."
Cannizaro was the Yankees' seventh-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, and he played in the organization for seven seasons, reaching the Major League level in September 2006. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was on the club's big-league roster for the first two months of the season.
He later played for the AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox before retiring from the game in September 2009.
During his pro career, he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights, a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players.
"I feel this is a wonderful hire for the LSU baseball program," said legendary former LSU coach Skip Bertman, who guided the Tigers against Cannizaro's Tulane teams from 1998-2001. "Andy's excellent scouting background, in addition to the experience he gained as a college and pro player, make him a perfect fit for the position. He is going to make a significant impact upon the program as a recruiter and as a coach who can teach hitting. Andy helps to form a superb coaching staff for LSU."
Cannizaro, a four-year starter at shortstop for Tulane, led the 2001 Green Wave squad to the first College World Series appearance in school history, batting a remarkable .395 with 118 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBI and 52 stolen bases.
A two-time all-America and three-time all-Conference USA performer, Cannizaro is Tulane's all-time leader in games played (248), at-bats (1,030), hits (350), doubles (85) and stolen bases (128). He was inducted in 2007 into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.
"Congratulations to Coach Mainieri and LSU, because they have made a tremendous hire," said Rick Jones, Cannizaro's coach at Tulane. "Andy is honest, hard-working, committed, he's not ego-driven, and he loves the game. He's going to canvas the country as an excellent recruiter, and he's going to be a great asset on the field in working with the players. I consider Andy to be family, and I couldn't be happier for him."
Cannizaro graduated from Tulane in December 2001 with a bachelor of arts in sociology/business minor. He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of two children, Gabrielle (3) and Pierce (nine months).
Hometown: Mandeville, La.
High School: St. Paul's HS (Covington, La.)
Children: Gabrielle, Pierce
Alma Mater: Tulane, 2001 (sociology major/business minor)
1998-2001 Tulane (four-year starter at shortstop; two-time all-American)
2001-2007 New York Yankees organization (played for MLB club in Sept. 2006)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays organization (played for MLB club in April-May 2008)
2008-2009 Cleveland Indians organization
2009 Chicago White Sox organization
2014- LSU (recruiting coordinator/hitting coach)
2009-14 Amateur Scout, New York Yankees
§ recruited and evaluated players in preparation for MLB Draft
§ worked as East Coast Pro Showcase coach in 2013-14
§ served as Yankees representative at 2013 and 2014 MLB Drafts
§ worked as Yankees advance scout in preparation for 2011 and 2012 playoffs
2008 Head Coach, Louisiana Knights U18 fall baseball team