South Carolina fires Darrin Horn

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South Carolina fires Darrin Horn

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:51 pm

South Carolina fires Darrin Horn

South Carolina has called a press conference today at 1:30 to announce the firing of Darrin Horn. Horn left Western Kentucky for South Carolina prior to the 2008-09 season and he has posted a 60-63 record, including a 23-41 mark in the SEC and no NCAA tourney appearances in his four seasons with the Gamecocks. He was 111-48 in five seasons in Bowling Green with one trip to the Sweet 16.

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Re: South Carolina fires Darrin Horn

Post  Carolina Kat on Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:52 pm

Posted on Tue, Mar. 13, 2012 2:00 PM
Modified Tue, Mar. 13, 2012 2:20 PM

Horn fired as USC hoops coach

Coaches’ records in their first four seasons at USC:

1. Dave Odom (2001-05) 77-55 (.583)
2. George Felton (1986-90) 67-49 (.578)
3. Bill Foster (1980-84) 65-50 (.565)
4. Frank Johnson (1940-42; 1946-48) 45-38 (.542)
5. Eddie Fogler (1993-97) 62-56 (.525)
6. Frank McGuire (1964-68) 48-44 (.522)
7. Darrin Horn (2008-12) 60-63 (.488)
8. Ted Petoskey (1935-39) 32-55 (.368)
9. A.W. Norman (1928-32) 24-47 (.338)

Darrin Horn, the youthful basketball coach who like the pair of veterans before him could not make South Carolina basketball into a consistent winner, was fired Tuesday.

Athletic director Eric Hyman showed supported for the coach he hired in 2008 through SEC play, but the Gamecocks won only one of their last 12 games to finish with their third-straight losing season -- the program’s worst stretch in 18 years.

Hyman in a news conference Tuesday said he told USC president Harris Pastides on Sunday night that the school needed to go in another direction. He told Horn of his decision this morning and then the athletics director met with players, who were asked for their opinion on what they would like from a new coach.

Horn said in a statement: "First and foremost, I’d like to thank Eric Hyman, Dr. Pastides and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity I’ve had as the head men’s basketball coach at South Carolina for the past four years. I appreciate the Gamecock Nation for its support of the program. My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Columbia and wish nothing but the best for the Gamecocks.”

Combined with tumbling attendance and little sign of improvement for next season, Hyman was left with little choice despite support from university leadership.

Horn was 60-63 in four seasons at USC. The Gamecocks’ 21 losses this season, including to mid-majors Elon and Tennessee State, tied a school record. South Carolina also posted a school-worst 2-14 record in the SEC.

Horn is scheduled to receive $2.4 million to buy out the final three years of his contract.

Potential replacements include Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, a Greenwood native and former coach at Winthrop, and Duke assistant Jeff Capel, a former Oklahoma coach whom Hyman pursued after Odom left.

The new coach will inherit a program losing its leading scorer and with few All-SEC caliber players. The SEC schedule increases by two games to 18 with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.

The team got some good news Monday when Bruce Ellington, its best all-around player and top returning scorer, decided he would punt football and play only basketball next season. Ellington missed months of basketball practice and seven games this season because he was a football receiver and kick returner.

USC has one recruit arriving next season, an unranked 6-foot-10 forward, with two more scholarships available.

Horn, 39, was unable to repeat the success of his Sweet 16 NCAA run from his final season at Western Kentucky or even the winning record of his first season at South Carolina after replacing Dave Odom. The Gamecocks went 21-10 that season, won a share of the SEC Eastern division title and earned a NIT bid.

But as Odom’s players left the program or graduated, including three-time first-team All-SEC guard Devan Downey, Horn’s team got younger and wins dwindled from 15 to 14 to 10.

He fared worse in the SEC where his was 23-41. The Gamecocks won just seven league contests in the past two seasons. Horn never won a SEC tournament game and dropped his only postseason appearance, a first-round NIT game against Davidson.

He also failed to beat four teams from the weaker Southern Conference on the road in each of his four seasons -- College of Charleston, Wofford, Furman and Elon.

Horn had some successes after his first season. He beat undefeated Kentucky at Colonial Life Arena in 2010, the first time South Carolina defeated a top-ranked team. USC has bested Clemson two years running -- after a six-year slide against the in-state rivals. South Carolina won at Florida in 2011. He also got South Carolina out of the academic danger zone with the NCAA.

But those successes were too few.

His recruiting was marginal. Only one player, former starter Lakeem Jackson, remains from Horn’s first class of recruits from three years ago. His second class of six high schoolers was ranked in the top 25 but has produced just two consistent contributors, Ellington and forward Damontre Harris, who was named to the SEC’s All-Defensive team this season.

Some of Horn’s recent decisions backfired.

Irmo native Murphy Holloway was expected to be a centerpiece on the team this year after transferring from Mississippi to be closer to his family. But he never played a game before going back to Oxford, leaving a void in the post as South Carolina averaged its fewest rebounds a game in more than 20 years.

He did not replace recruiting specialist Orlando Early, who left last year after a season to join the staff of his former boss Mark Gottfried at N.C. State. Instead, Horn elevated a former assistant, Cypheus Bunton, to the opening. Early had more years of coaching experience than Horn’s three assistants combined.

Guard Ramon Galloway, who left the program last year after being told his playing time would diminish, averaged 14 points a game and shot 44 percent from three-points to earn second-team All-Atlantic 10 honors at La Salle this season.

Horn was 35 when arrived from his alma mater Western Kentucky in 2008. USC spent the previous 15 seasons under the leadership of veteran coaches, Odom and Eddie Fogler.

Odom led USC to a pair of NIT titles and four 20-win seasons in seven years. Fogler won South Carolina’s only SEC regular-season title and posted two 20-win seasons in eight years.

Horn wooed fans and created the Garnet Army student section in his first season, but he lost the crowd as the losses mounted. Average announced attendance fell by nearly 3,000 fans a game over the past four seasons.

Basketball ticket sales fell $400,000 between 2008 and 2011, according to USC data. The loss of revenue is crucial because the men’s basketball program is just one of two sports, along with football, to earn a profit and helps pay to run USC’s 18 other sports.

Horn’s team this season fought hard in the worst campaign in 13 years -- coming close to wins at Florida and Mississippi, at home against Mississippi State and at the SEC tournament against Alabama. The Gamecocks also stayed close with then No. 2 Ohio State for most of a game in December.

He received support from Pastides and members of the school’s board of trustees, but athletics leadership saw a need to change coaches after four seasons.

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Re: South Carolina fires Darrin Horn

Post  jagator on Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:34 am

That's too bad. He seemed like a good hire at first. It didn't help when his best player decided to go out for football. Sometimes schools like SC give up on a coach too soon I think. You're not Kentucky. You aren't going to win overnight. You can't go in to any top 50 players house and say we're South Carolina and have the kid go OOOHHH! You have to give a guy time. You're competing in the same division as Kentucky, Florida, Vandy and Tennessee. Now add Missouri to the list. What do you think having a revolving door is going to do for you?

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