March 28, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman (left) speaks with defensive end Melvin Ingram during the South Carolina pro day at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE
As you've undoubtedly already heard, Eric Hyman has resigned his post as athletics director at South Carolina. Some of you may be wondering why Hyman has chosen to make this decision. After all, based on the past few year's results, TAMU is not necessarily a more attractive job than USC. Hyman has been a part of proving that you can win at USC, not only in football but across the board. His accolades not only include a general improvement in the performance of our athletics program but, also, an important concomitant choice to invest rising revenue in modernizing our facilities. Our success--which this year included a historic 11-win football season, a Sweet 16 for the women's basketball team, and a spot in the CWS Championship Series for the defending two-time national champion baseball team--has in large part been a product of Hyman's decisions. Detractors may want to point out that Hyman didn't hire Steve Spurrier or Ray Tanner, but the facilities upgrades that Hyman oversaw has had a huge impact on making Spurrier and Tanner's programs more attractive to the recruits who have made such a huge difference in the fortunes of Carolina's two highest-profile programs.
That said, although USC is at an all-time high and is poised to continue winning, largely due to Hyman's management, Hyman has good reasons to want the TAMU job:
Hyman has ties to the state of Texas after spending over seven years at Texas Christian University. About to enter his seventh year as athletic director at South Carolina, Hyman’s two children live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. One source indicated that Hyman, when he retires, plans to do so in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
This is both to say that Carolina fans shouldn't view Hyman's departure as an indictment of our program, and nor should they judge Hyman for his decision. Carolina fans should also appreciate the class with which Hyman left. He had this to say about his choice to take off:
"I am very excited for the opportunity to help transition Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference," said Hyman. "While this is a tremendous opportunity, the downside is leaving all the dedicated and loyal fans in Gamecock Nation and the best athletic department in the country. Pauline and I have loved living in Columbia. It will be sad to leave all the wonderful friends we have made."
All of that said, Carolina fans want to know who the replacement will be. One place to look is Tanner. Our friend Life of a Gamecock had this to say about Tanner's candidacy:
Ray Tanner has told many around him he would be interested in the athletic director's position should it open up at South Carolina. He spent time at N.C. State as the associate athletic director so he does have experience in a similar role. He's obviously been occupied with baseball, but after winning back-to-back national titles and almost a third, would Tanner think he's done enough on the field to move behind a desk? I could see him thinking of this as a new challenge and be ready to step aside and hand the job to assistant coach Chad Holbrook.
The baseball program is obviously in great hands with Ray Tanner but would certainly continue under the leadership of Holbrook. Tanner knows this and could be an extra boost for him to push for the AD job if Hyman does in fact leave South Carolina.
As LOAG also notes, though, while I'd love to see Tanner get his chance and for Carolina's programs as a whole thrive under his leadership, at the same time, I feel that we need to conduct a serious search for the position. That's not to say that hiring Tanner would necessarily be a patronage hire; Tanner is a proven leader who has done tons--and I mean TONS--for USC, and he does have experience in administration. That said, this is a big-boy program now, and it needs to take this hire very seriously. A rigorous search is necessary to determine who is qualified to take us to the next level--particularly considering that the incoming guy will probably be tasked with the essential job of hiring Spurrier's replacement.
Who will that be? In addition to Tanner, I've seen a few names floated around today, but I can't really gauge how serious any of the chatter is. More updates to come as more comes out.