Politics and technicals

Q&A with USC men's basketball coach Darrin Horn

November 13, 2008 

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Darrin Horn was introduced as South Carolina's new men's basketball coach on April 1, after five years as Western Kentucky's coach.

He sat down with Seth Emerson, GoGamecocks The Magazine's men's basketball beat writer, recently for some questions.

QUESTION: Did you and your wife buy a house yet in Columbia, and did the mortgage survive the Wall Street crisis?

ANSWER: Yes, and so far it has. We were a qualified borrower. I think it was OK.

Q: At Western Kentucky, everyone knew you, because you were an alumnus, and because basketball was the big thing there, it was No. 1. How is going out in public different here than it was there?

A: Honestly, I think I’m more recognizable here than I expected to be. But I think the thing that we do, we really try to practice what we preach with family. We’re going to do what we do, whether that’s go to church on Sunday or take our kids to the park or whatever, and try not to worry about that kind of stuff.

Q: Have you had a chance to interact much with Steve Spurrier?

A: Not a lot. Just a handful of occasions. But I’ve been really impressed with his obvious - –I guess the best way to say it is his commitment and willingness to help everybody. He’s definitely a team guy, without question. But everybody has been, from Dawn (Staley) to Ray Tanner to Puggy (Blackmon, the golf director), I mean everybody’s been great.

Q: I know it’s not great for someone in your position to be wide-eyed, but you’re 35, there has to be a part of you that has to think it’s pretty cool that you’re a bigtime coach at the same place that Steve Spurrier’s the football coach, where Dawn Staley’s in the next office.

A: Yeah, absolutely. But I think also a part of what drives people at this level is to be a part of something that’s important, a part of something that has potential to be big. I don’t think it is as much relative to the job. I’m not gonna think it’s gonna be cool to go up against some of the other coaches in our league. I’ve done some of that already. I think it’s more about, like you say, being at a state school, being able to coach in this building, having colleagues like that.

Q: Are you going to be the kind of guy that gets a lot of technicals, are you gonna be in officials’ ears, are you gonna be a fiery guy, or are you going to take a year to get to know the refs?

A: (Laughs). I’m gonna be myself. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know, I think I’ve had five (technicals), maybe six in five years. I think all but two of them I deserved and knew I was probably headed that way. There were a couple – one was so bad I know the guy wasn’t working in the Sun Belt (Conference) any more. But I don’t think it’s going to be over the top. But I’m gonna be passionate, that’s for sure.

Q: The Web site DarrinHorn.com (which he had at Western Kentucky, and is now updated with USC), did you update that yourself before, and are you continuing that now?

A: Yeah, we have it, we haven’t done a lot with it. They may have updated it a little bit recently. We hope to keep up with it. ... We looked around the country, big-time programs coaches have Web sites, so we wanted to offer that same thing. It started as kind of another resource so maybe they got more of a personal insight to me or maybe how we’re doing things, philosophy, some of that stuff.

Q: You do a lot of traveling, which is a good time for reading books. Are you reading anything right now?

A: No, nothing specific. I’ve got a book with me called “Revolution,” but I’ve been working while on the plane, so I haven’t been doing a lot of reading. It’s a book by George Barna. It’s a faith book, talking about faith vs. the structure of the church. It’s kind of interesting. It appeals to me because – I don’t know the right way to say it – just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean that’s the way to do it. But it’s doing it from a faithbased standpoint. Pretty interesting.

Q: Do you have any time for TV, or too busy?

A: Yeah, I don’t do a lot of TV. Occasionally, if my wife can get all that she needs to get accomplished, we’ll sit down together at the end of things, and maybe try to catch up on what’s going on in the world.

Q: Are you paying attention to the election and all that stuff?

A: A little bit. I’m interested by the process as much as I am by what’s actually going on. How everything’s handled, I think that’s interesting. I think what’s going on with the economic stuff is interesting.

I’m kind of a nuts-and-bolts guy. For example, all that stuff I hear I don’t know if I understand it. But it just seems to me that if a lot of people in positions of authority to do so, would have made better decisions, and had just done the right thing, maybe we wouldn’t be in quite this spot.

Q: Do you read the message boards or listen to talk radio?

A: I don’t. I really don’t. I’ll occasionally read an article about something. What’s funny, what people don’t understand, is they don’t believe coaches when they say that. But we end up getting most of it anyway, because somebody’s gonna tell us.

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