Among other outlets, The Big Spur and the AP are now reporting that the Frank Martin-to-USC rumors are, in fact, true, and that Martin will soon be announced as the Gamecocks' replacement for Darrin Horn. Contract details have yet to be released; Yahoo has this to say:
A potential salary for Martin has not been disclosed. He made around $1.1 million at Kansas State, and South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman said when he fired Horn that the Gamecocks were willing to pay their next coach a competitive salary. The school also will owe Horn a $2.4 million buyout.
There have been some internet rumors about Martin's reported salary at USC, but I'd rather not post that here until it's been released publicly. Needless to say, we'll be covering this as more information comes out in the coming days.
This is simply a dream hire for Carolina; as I've said before, I think it Martin is a better candidate than Gregg Marshall. I honestly thought that we wouldn't have a shot at a coach of this caliber. After all, what coach in his right mind would give up a winning Big 12 program to come to coach the floundering Gamecocks program?
On the one hand, I think we got very lucky here. It's clear that there was a rift between Martin and his athletics director at Kansas St. That has a lot to do with Martin falling into our laps.
That said, I think this hire also proves that, first of all, this job isn't as undesirable as some would have us believe. Don't forget, the Mississippi St. and Illinois jobs are open, too. Martin could have easily been a candidate for one of those jobs, had he wanted to be. It's reasonable to say that he thinks he has a better chance of winning here than Mississippi St., which speaks to the fact that, while I wouldn't go so far as to say we're a "sleeping giant," we certainly have the potential to be much better than what we've been in recent years. I won't go so far as to say that Martin thinks we're a program with better potential than Illinois, but the fact that he chose us says that he sees something in our opening.
Second of all, you really have to give Eric Hyman a lot of credit with this hire. The Darrin Horn hire was his only major mistake as USC AD, and he made up for it with this move. There's no guarantee that Martin will win big here, of course, but he looks to be about as likely a guy to do so as anyone who was a serious candidate. This was a perfect hire on Hyman's part, and one that could pay major dividends for Carolina down the road by bringing our lagging men's basketball program to the level of our football, baseball, and women's basketball programs. Only a few weeks ago, many of us were afraid that he would get gun-shy with Horn; now, he's proven that he's ready to do what has to be done and to go out and make the right moves to get the best candidate available. Kudos, Mr. Hyman.
Again, we'll have more info on this situation, as well as what to expect from Martin in terms of coaching style and recruiting, over the next couple of days.