South Carolina lost its athletic director on Friday when Eric Hyman officially resigned from his position at South Carolina. Hyman resigned to take the vacant athletic director at Texas A&M, who officially joined the SEC on Sunday July 1st.
Hyman's departure leaves a big void in the athletic department as his work over the past seven years has made South Carolina into a viable athletic department with a ton of improvement on and off the field. Facilities, fund-raising and team accomplishments have all seen massive improvements under Eric Hyman's watch.
Luckily, it seems the athletic department is set up for continued success off of what Eric Hyman has built. USC will need to hire the right person to continue moving forward as USC looks to establish themselves as one of the elite programs in the country.
Here is a look at a few candidates that have already been mentioned, or could be mentioned, as potential replacements for the AD position at South Carolina:
- USC baseball coach Ray Tanner: Ray Tanner is your odds-on favorite to be named the next AD at South Carolina. He has prior experience as an associate AD at NC State, which should help his case for the job at USC. Granted, that was several years ago, but on paper he's got that working in his favor. He's also publicly stated he'd liked to be in this type of position. He's managed the baseball team to new heights, was a tremendous player in the building of Carolina Stadium and is a well-liked guy around the university and the country. It also helps that USC has star assistant coach Chad Holbrook waiting in the wings as well. South Carolina nearly had their third-straight NCAA Championship. The timing may be perfect for Ray Tanner to be moved to this position. If he doesn't do it now, he may miss out on the job the next go-round.
- Georgia Tech Athletic Director Dan Radakovich: Radakovich is the current Georgia Tech AD, serving in this position since 2006. He was once an associate AD at USC from 1994 through 2000. He left that position for an AD position at American University before leaving for LSU in 2001 as associate AD. He's got the valuable business-type of experience you need as well as major university experience running an athletic department. He's helped with facility improvements at various universities and looks like a good fit on paper. He did, however, have some NCAA issues that resulted in a four-year probation along with the forfeiture of the 2009 ACC Title game victory. So that would have to be in consideration. It also didn't hurt Eric Hyman in regards to the Texas A&M job after USC was hit with some NCAA violations just recently themselves. He'd be a solid candidate for the Gamecocks if they go this route.
- USC associate AD Charles Waddell: Waddell is another in-house option that would have to be considered for the AD position. He's currently responsible for athletics department's policies and procedures, travel and the sports medicine program and coordinates special projects. Additionally, he serves as an administrator to women's basketball, track and field, and swimming and diving. He's been at USC since 2006 and spent time before that at Fayetteville State and with Richardson Sports in Charlotte, North Carolina. He's not the big name you'd think of right off the bat for this position but one that needs to be mentioned. He's likely a fall-back candidate but someone who would definitely stick around for the next AD if he's not chosen for the promotion.
- Middle Tennessee State AD Chris Massaro: Chris Massaro is a guy very familiar with the landscape at South Carolina. He spent 20+ years in Columbia before departing for the AD position at MTSU. He's been responsible for increased fund-raising projects at MTSU that included money for a new baseball stadium, the largest unrestricted gift of $1 million dollars in MTSU history and money for a new women's basketball office suite. Annual giving has tripled in his time there along with several success stories on the athletic fields. While MTSU is a different breed that USC, he's got the experience in a similar position along with all the familiarities of South Carolina. He would be a quality candidate for this position.
- Newberry AD Brad Edwards: Another one of South Carolina's own, Brad Edwards has the experience and knowledge of South Carolina to make him a viable candidate. He spent several years at USC from 1999 to 2006 working his way up to associate AD at USC. He helped guide the building of the Colonial Life Arena and oversight of the Charles Crews Football Facility and was responsible for all venue concessions and food service, department advertising and multimedia rights, coordination of bowl travel, executive suites, assisting in securing major financial gifts, and many other operational aspects of the department. He's a former USC football player and would be another solid candidate on the list of replacements.
This is a big job.
South Carolina will be able to find plenty of people willing to jump at the chance to replace Eric Hyman as the athletic director. They may, however, find the right candidate down the street at Carolina Stadium. There is no better time for Ray Tanner to take over as the next AD. USC baseball has been built into an elite powerhouse. It's the premier baseball program in the country. Tanner has turned this program into a money-maker and interest level is at an all-time high. Losing Tanner could hurt initially but Holbrook is the top assistant coach who could coach wherever he wanted at the major level. At least there is an in-house replacement to fill in for Tanner who should keep the momentum going.
We may not know the replacement for a few months. Or a few days. It just depends on when the Board of Trustees and Harris Pastides feel comfortable enough in hiring a replacement. All eyes are on Ray Tanner right now though. He's the favorite and will likely end up with the job.
It's an interesting time for South Carolina. Eric Hyman's move has impacted the future of South Carolina athletics. Will it be for the good or the bad? Only time can tell.