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South Carolina makes it official, hires Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris as men’s basketball coach

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Signed, sealed, and delivered now.

NCAA Basketball: Chattanooga at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

After a couple weeks of an overactive rumor mill and a few days of relative quiet, the South Carolina Gamecocks finally have their man to helm the men’s basketball program: former Chattanooga coach Lamont Paris.

Paris, the 33rd coach in South Carolina history and the Gamecocks’ first Black coach, went 87-72 overall in five years with the Mocs, which includes a 65-29 record the past three seasons. Under his guidance this season, the Mocs captured their first Southern Conference title and NCAA appearance since 2016, and finished with a 27-8 mark. For his efforts, Paris is up for the Hugh Durham award, given to Division I’s best mid-major coach, and he also earned SoCon Coach of the Year honors.

Paris’ hiring, however, does not come without consternation among some fans and former players as well, as the program’s all-time leading scorer, B.J. McKie, was also a final candidate and seemed like a slam-dunk choice to many. Indeed, the parallels to the hiring of Shane Beamer just a year ago were obvious. But South Carolina chose to go in another direction, and Paris will get the chance to turn the Gamecocks around.