After a bit of chatter from various corners of Gamecock Nation that Darrin Horn would not be retained as head basketball coach heading into 2012-2013, we learned today that Horn has, in fact, been dismissed. Horn had some nice accomplishments at USC--he won a regular-season SEC East crown in his first year, and that team gave us several memorable moments, including this one:
Devan Downey's Game Winner vs. UK (via GamecocksOnline)
His teams also performed very well in the classroom and didn't get into trouble, and his "Garnet Army" concept was popular with the fans. Because of those things, we should wish him well in his future endeavors. I've been a bit disappointed in some of the vitriol directed Horn's way by the fan base in recent weeks. Whatever the case may be, Horn was a Gamecock. We should remember that.
At the end of the day, though, Horn just didn't win enough games. There's been a lot of debate about why he's struggled so much; it would seem that he recruited fairly well, but a lot of the talent he brought in never lived up to its potential. Some have said that Horn can't develop talent or that he's not a good teacher of the game. There have also been rumors of poor team chemistry, rumors that seemed to be pointed up by the high level of attrition during Horn's tenure. Regardless of the causes, the fact of the matter is that Horn's teams won less and less games each passing year. His last team was one of the worst BCS-level teams in the nation, ranking very lowly in many statistical categories and suffering embarrassing losses to non-elite mid-major competition. I don't think anyone expected the Gamecocks to challenge for a national title this year, but this team was simply bad, and that was unacceptable for a fourth-year coach charged with building this program. The decision that was made was necessary.
Now, the question is, who will Eric Hyman hire to replace Horn? This is, needless to say, a major hire for Hyman. Baseball, football, and, now, women's basketball are enjoying unprecedented success, and Carolina fans want Hyman to bring in a coach who can help our men's basketball team win, too. Right now, the popular choice among the fans is Gregg Marshall, who will be leading his Wichita St. Shockers against Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. There will also be other names in the mix, of course. We'll take a look at some of them tomorrow.