When the SEC paired up South Carolina and new guys Texas A&M as an annual, cross-division rivalry, we didn't really have much history to go on between the two. That's changed now, as the Aggies are reportedly ready to announce South Carolina's Eric Hyman as their new AD, replacing the retired Bill Byrne.
So why make what would appear to some to be a lateral move? For one thing, much of Hyman's family lives in Fort Worth after his long tenure at TCU before his time in Columbia. Also, SEC blog Team Speed Kills has a whole lot of analysis on Hyman's Gamecocks legacy and where Carolina goes from here:
His legacy as South Carolina is largely, though not exclusively, positive. He hired Darrin Horn to coach the men's basketball team -- a mistake that cost the team several years before Hyman corrected things by hiring Frank Martin. The hiring of Dawn Staley for women's basketball has been a clear-cut success; she took the program to the Sweet Sixteen last season as part of a steady upward trajectory.
Hyman has also overseen a significant boost to the facilities in Columbia. But he's arguably had marginal impact on the two programs that will define his tenure: Steve Spurrier and baseball head coach Ray Tanner were already on campus when Hyman arrived. The facilities improvements have helped both, no doubt, but Hyman will leave Columbia having never hired a coach for either of the campus' two highest-profile programs.
Which perhaps magnifies the importance of the next athletics director for South Carolina. Steve Spurrier is not going to be around forever -- five years is probably the longest South Carolina fans can expect, with three or four being more likely. It is a near-certainty that the next athletics director will select the head coach who will either solidify the gains Spurrier has made or potentially lead the program right back where it was.
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together: