South Carolina thwarted any possible suitors for its athletics director Friday by agreeing to give Eric Hyman a $75,000 raise.
Hyman was contacted by his alma mater, North Carolina, about his interest in its athletics director position, a source told The State this week. His name also had been linked to the top job at Tennessee.
“I think there was some anxiety over (Hyman possibly leaving),” board member Chuck Allen said. “I think that’s what expedited the process.”
Hyman declined to speak about his contract amendment.
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“I think the action speaks so loud, you can barely hear what I say,” he said. “I’m really not going to talk about my personal situation.”
Later in the day, the school released a statement from Hyman that read, in part: “I am a very lucky person and have been blessed to work with some outstanding people. While we’ve made some progress as an athletics department, we still have a lot of work in front of us.”
The raise was approved at a board of trustees meeting during which USC officials also:
-- gave assistant baseball coach Chad Holbrook a $16,000 raise, to $176,000 per year in base salary;
-- approved a six-year apparel and equipment deal with Under Armour that will clad the school’s coaches and athletes in the company’s products from head to toe and bring the school more than $1 million a year in compensation.
“I want to thank (school president Harris) Pastides, Eric Hyman and coach (Ray) Tanner for everything they’ve done for me and the confidence they have in me,” Holbrook said in a statement. “I look forward to helping the South Carolina baseball team continue to compete for championships for many years to come.”
Holbrook owes some thanks for his pay bump to Tennessee, which interviewed him for its head coaching job before South Carolina decided to increase his pay and extend his contract. Holbrook’s contract was lengthened by two years. It now runs through 2015.
“Chad is talented,” Hyman said. “He’s got a great future ahead of him.”
There are no formal plans to have Holbrook replace Tanner when Tanner leaves the program, Hyman said. The Gamecocks have won back-to-back national titles.
“I have not been an advocate of that (a succession plan), but I have a past history of hiring from within when a program is headed in the right direction,” Hyman said.
The completion of USC’s contract with Under Armour brings to a conclusion a process that lasted nearly a year. The Gamecocks football and men’s basketball teams already had deals with Under Armour, but the new deal supersedes those agreements and includes all sports.
In addition to paying South Carolina more than $1 million a year, the deal will send the school $1 million worth of apparel and equipment each year. The school also will receive monetary bonuses for success on the field and for any year Gamecocks apparel is among the nation’s top 15 in sales. The contract has a clause for an automatic four-year renewal if neither party backs out before 2016.
Financially, the deal is one of the top 10 in the country and top four in the SEC, Hyman said.
“It’s huge,” he said. Associate athletics director “Charles Waddell needs to get credit for that one. Charles spearheaded that thing through. It’s terrific for all our of student-athletes in all of our programs.”
Hyman’s deal was approved Friday, but the details won’t be determined until later, a school spokesperson said. The $75,000 raise will be split between annual salary and deferred compensation. Hyman did not receive a contract extension. His deal runs through 2015.
“I’m glad we got it resolved and put it behind us,” Allen said. “He’s going to be our athletic director, hopefully, for a long time, and now we can move on and focus on football. He’s a class guy. He’s a man of integrity. You don’t have to worry about those kinds of issues. Just the overall performance level is outstanding.”
In other news:
-- The school approved a five-year deal for new volleyball coach Scott Swanson, who will make $100,000 a year.
-- USC has sold 26,000 tickets for the season opener against East Carolina on Sept. 3 in Charlotte. East Carolina has sold 14,000.