COLUMBIA — Frank Martin will be the next men’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina, he told ESPN.com on Monday night.
Martin will receive a six-year, $12 million contract, according to cbssports.com.
USC’s board announced Monday that it will gather at 10 a.m. today for a special meeting. The only item on the agenda for the meeting, which will be conducted via teleconference, is a “contractual matter.” All coaching contracts must be approved by the board.
USC has announced that a press conference at Colonial Life Arena to “discuss the
men’s basketball situation” will begin after the board meeting.
USC athletic director Eric Hyman has been searching for a new coach since he fired Darrin Horn on March 13 after four seasons. Horn made $1.1 million per year, and the transition from him to Martin could cost USC $5.4 million in buyouts and Martin’s contract, if the $2.05 million figure turns out to be accurate.
Over the weekend, Martin’s name emerged as a possible candidate. The Sporting News reported Friday that USC asked Kansas State for permission to speak with Martin, a 46-year-old Miami native who just finished his fifth season at Kansas State (his first head coaching job) with his fourth trip to the NCAA tournament, including the 2010 Elite Eight. Talks between Martin’s camp and USC began Saturday, Martin told ESPN.com.
Before going to the NCAA tournament in Martin’s first season, the Wildcats hadn’t been there since 1996. Before their 2010 Elite Eight appearance, they hadn’t been to even the Sweet 16 since 1988, when they made the Elite Eight. Martin won one game in his three other NCAA appearances.
Martin’s success at Kansas State has left some wondering why he would even consider the USC job, as the Gamecocks are coming off three consecutive losing seasons.
According to The Star, which cited an anonymous source close to the basketball program, Martin was “very upset” with Kansas State athletic director John Currie’s decision to withhold senior forward Jamar Samuels from the Wildcats’ second NCAA tournament game against Syracuse, over an eligibility concern stemming from Samuels’ former summer league wiring him $200. Syracuse won the game.
Martin’s contract with Kansas State runs through 2015 and pays him $1.55 million per year, on average, over the length of the deal. Martin told The Associated Press last year, when his name was mentioned in connection with Miami’s coaching vacancy, that he actually made $1.1 million in 2010-11 and that he would have to collect every possible bonus in his contract to reach the $1.55-million average over the course of the deal.
USC owes Horn a $2.4 million buyout for firing him. Martin’s contract calls for a $1 million buyout if he leaves for another job before the end of the deal. That figure is usually paid by the school hiring away a coach, as USC did when it brought Horn in from Western Kentucky.
That buyout was $200,000. When Horn arrived at USC, he made $800,000. Hyman said after firing Horn that USC will have more financial flexibility when hiring a coach this time around. And the school will need it, since it will be on the hook for $3.4 million in buyouts alone.
Hyman said after Horn’s firing that his buyout will be paid from a $12 million reserve account that Hyman has worked to pad, for these types of situations, since arriving at USC in 2005.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, who was born in Greenwood and worked at the College of Charleston (as an assistant) and Winthrop (as a head coach), was initially thought to be a likely candidate for the USC job. But Wichita State announced Saturday that Marshall would return to the school and receive a raise. It is unclear if, or how aggressively, Hyman pursued Marshall.
Before becoming Kansas State’s head coach, Martin was an assistant at Northeastern (2000-04), Cincinnati (2004-06) and Kansas State (2006-07). At Cincinnati, he worked one season under Bob Huggins and one under Andy Kennedy, after Huggins was resigned under pressure.
When Huggins resurfaced at Kansas State for the 2006-07 season and Kennedy left for Mississippi, Martin joined Huggins’ staff. Huggins spent only that one season at Kansas State before taking over West Virginia, his alma mater, and Kansas State promoted Martin.
Before joining the college coaching ranks, Martin coached at three high schools in Miami from 1985-2000. He won three consecutive state championships at Miami Senior High, but the last one, in 1998, was vacated because his players were recruited to the school, and boosters and school employees were found to have given them housing assistance.
Martin was fired, but officially cleared of any wrongdoing.