Frank Martin, introduced Tuesday as South Carolina's new head coach, denies speculation that an alleged rift with Kansas State athletic director John Currie hastened his departure from the program. From the Associated Press:
"John has been great," Martin said during a conference call shortly after being introduced as the new coach at South Carolina. "It's unfortunate that I make a difficult decision and everyone's got to figure out a way to blame someone for the decision. That's not fair to anybody."
Currie also disputed the notion, telling reporters he tried several times to restructure Martin's contract during the season and made a last-ditch offer to Martin on Monday when the coach informed Currie of his decision to leave for South Carolina.
Speculation of tension between the coach and athletic director escalated when Currie made the decision to suspend senior Jamar Samuels during the NCAA Tournament after discovering the player had received $200 from his former AAU coach -- and longtime family friend -- so that his mother could buy food. Martin stood by his player, but Currie was forced into making a quick decision. Even so, Martin denies leaving because of that incident.
"I don't make decisions based on one experience," he said. "Jamar might have played and we might have won and I still might have made this decision. The decisions I make and everything I do does not have a single thing to do with the decision that anybody else makes.
"In life you go through things and sometimes for no reason whatsoever, a new opportunity, a new challenge gets put in front of you, you make a choice," he said. "That doesn't mean one choice is better than the other, one place is better than the other."
In six years as head coach at Kansas State, Martin led the Wildcats to a 117-54 record, going 6-4 in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, have posted three losing seasons in a row, going 39-53 in that span and 10-21 in 2011-12.