Here is another round of our "Great Debate" series and this one is centered on Eric Hyman. Topic concerns Hyman's stance as the best AD at USC. Here is our thoughts....
From the General:
Last Tuesday, Kansas State's Frank Martin was announced as the next basketball coach at South Carolina. At the same time, Eric Hyman cemented his legacy as the greatest Athletics Director in South Carolina history and one of the best in the nation.
Through his tenure, Hyman has managed to recruit or keep the best set of coaches in the university's history. Ray Tanner was already here when Hyman took over, but Hyman presided over the new stadium and did what he needed to keep one of the elite national coaches in Columbia. Similarly, Hyman didn't bring Steve Spurrier to USC, but he did complete the projects Coach Spurrier needed and wanted and has managed to hang on to him far longer than most thought would be possible.
Hyman does deserve the credit for bringing Dawn Staley and keeping her when higher profile jobs were looking around. That hire has paid off in the form of greater visibility for a sport that was all but invisible on campus before Staley's arrival, and a sweet sixteen appearance this year speaks for itself. Then this week Frank Martin was added. Many believed and have stated that perhaps South Carolina isn't as good a basketball job as Kansas State. Maybe, maybe not, but Eric Hyman convinced Martin that it can be, and even if there was some fortuitous timing involved, the credit still belongs to EH.
The coaching hires are the high profile job the AD does, but think of these other things Hyman has done. The YES program has skyrocketed revenue and allowed USC to compete in the best conference in the country. Do you remember any university difficulties with the city under Hyman's watch? What about before? How stable does this athletic department feel? The successes thus far and many of those to come are a direct result of Hyman, which is why he is one of the best at his job in the nation.
Thoughts from Flounder:
Eric Hyman has certainly earned his keep so to speak. He has pulledoff a great recent hire in Frank Martin. This is icing on the cake ashe has assembled a great cast of coaches from men's golf to thefootball squad. All coaches are highly respected within their sportand they are Gamecocks.
On top of great coaching hires, Hyman has gottnen USC in the blackfinancially. He also has the facilities in a good spot and "kept upwith the Jones's" of the SEC.
Hyman is worthy of the tag of greatest AD in SC history as all youhave to do is look at what he has accomplished in his tenure.
After hearing Flounder's response I can't help but wonder, are there any Carolina fans who don't think Eric Hyman has done an incredible job while he's been here?
I would say that Hyman is a mixed bag. I give him great credit for financial management. I give him some credit - although I'm not certain how much is due him - for the overwhelming success of our capital fundraising efforts resulting in our awesome facilities upgrades. You also need to know that the top dog in our Athletics Dept is Steve Spurrier and Hyman is nothing other than OBC's lapdog. I strongly suspect that our fundraising would not have succeeded anywhere near current levels without Spurrier.
On hiring coaches, I give him a D minus. Why? Because 5 years ago when it was time to hire a Head Mens Basketball Coach, he failed to identify his top target and go after him. He was turned down by Jeff Capel and Anthony Grant and so, afraid of a repeat of the fiasco scenario under King Dixon where he was jilted by one coach after another and we became a national laughing stock on ESPN night after night for about two or three months, Hyman hired the first guy who said he would accept the job - Darrin Horn. I knew at the time that Horn would not succeed at this job. I even stated that it was unfair to offer the job to a guy like Horn. But Hyman hired a obscure young coach and paid him in the bottom quadrant of coaches in our conference.What does that say about our commitment to mens basketball to regional recruits and the national press? It says we don't give a rip about it even though it is one of our only two revenue generating sports.
So then, he hires Dawn Staley, who is an excellent established highly successful coach of a Major Div 1 program for womens basketball, which I don't care if they win 4 national Championships in a row, is never going to be a revenue generator. Now I love having Staley, but Hyman gave her a contract almost as lucrative as he gave Horn. I'm sorry but as an AD you have to prioritize and allocate resources where you get the biggest bang for the buck and that's in the revenue generating programs. We could and should have used that extra money to make a serious run at Anthony Grant or some other more high profile coach.
I think Hyman gets far more credit than he deserves from the fans and I think that he does not have the sales skills or the basic belief in the University of South Carolina necessary to approach, let alone hire, big time high profile coaches for our programs. He can go a long way toward correcting that view with this coaching hire, but it still won't completely erase the fact that he hired Horn and then threw him under the bus when the heat got too hot and forced us to suffer through four years of lousy basketball and pay Horn $2.4 million to not coach. All that was due to Hyman's incompetent management and lack of intestinal fortitude.
All of the above was written prior to the hiring of Frank Martin. Finally I can say that Hyman really did something right by hiring him. It brought his GPA up from a D- to a C+.