baseball Edit

Kevin O'Sullivan addresses LSU report

In an emotional press conference, Friday afternoon LSU manager Paul Mainieri announced he would retire at the end of the Tigers' 2021 baseball season.

Mainieri has spent the last 15 years in Baton Rouge, winning a National Championship in 2009, the SEC four times (2009, 2012, 2015, 2017), and the SEC tournament six times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017).

Being one of the best programs with one of the most fervent baseball fan bases in the country, the Tigers immediately started looking for their next coach, and their eyes quickly turned to Gainesville.

Columnist Glenn Guilbeau of The Advertiser reported that LSU would be targeting Florida's, Kevin O'Sullivan.

Following the Gators' last game in Hoover, Gators Territory asked Kevin O'Sullivan if he was aware of the report, had any interest in the LSU job, or if he was happy in Gainesville.

"I can't control what people write. I'm the head coach of the University of Florida, and it's just that simple.
— Kevin O'Sullivan

It's not necessarily a straight denial but Florida has done a lot to keep O'Sullivan in Gainesville and happy.

In 2016 when the Texas Longhorns' job came open there was interest in O'Sullivan. Texas is one of the most storied, if not the most storied, program in college baseball and it's a job that doesn't come open often. At the time the Longhorns had just three different skippers since 1940.

In 2016 the Gators were playing at an old stadium with middle-of-the-pack facilities while schools around the SEC were building baseball cathedrals. At the time O'Sullivan was making $655,000 a year, nothing to sneeze at but not close to being paid as one of the best coaches in the country, which O'Sullivan was quickly showing he was.

Florida went all-in to keep Sully in Gainesville. They made him the highest-paid coach in college baseball with a 10-year, $12.5 million dollar extension and made a promise to either renovate the current stadium and facilities or build a new stadium. Four years later the Gators opened a brand new $65 million dollar stadium with all the bells and whistles.

It was deserved. O'Sullivan had taken the Gators to the College World Series five times prior to the extension, finishing runner-up in 2011. Since the extension, the Gators have won a National Championship and have made the trip to Omaha in two of the three seasons since.

O'Sullivan is under contract with the University of Florida until 2029. If he were to leave the University before the end of his contract his buyout is $500,000.

In the past, the perception was that Florida didn't care about baseball and wouldn't spend to help the program. O'Sullivan won anyway. Since 2016 Florida has shown its dedication to the baseball program both in O'Sullivan's compensation and to its facilities. Leaving Florida now, even for a job as prestigious as LSU, would be puzzling to Florida and Gator fans.