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Walvius resigns after 11 seasons

South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman has another basketball coach to hire.

Gamecocks women’s coach Susan Walvius submitted her resignation Monday, ending an 11-year tenure that included just two trips to the NCAA tournament.

Walvius compiled a 165-160 record at USC but was 51-103 in Southeastern Conference play and missed the NCAAs the past five seasons.

Hyman met with Walvius last week before accepting her resignation Monday.

“She tendered her resignation, so I think at this point and time she felt, obviously, it was in her best interest ... not to go forward with the program,” Hyman said.

Speculation about Walvius’ future intensified in 2007 when Hyman extended her contract by two years but decreased the amount of her buyout to $25,000 for the final year of the deal (2008-09).

Though Walvius’ contract called for her to pay $12,500 if she resigned in the final year of the deal, USC is paying Walvius the $25,000 she would have received had she been fired.

Her resignation is effective May 31, but Walvius is expected to leave her job immediately. USC did not schedule a news conference to announce the change or make Walvius available to the media, as it did with men’s coach Dave Odom. Attempts to reach her Monday were unsuccessful though she met with the team Monday afternoon. USC did not announce who would oversee the team during the search period.

“I want to emphatically thank the players and coaches who have given so much,” Walvius said in a release. “I have one of the best groups of kids ever and leaving them is difficult, but the time is right for me to pursue other opportunities.

“I am proud of many of the things we’ve accomplished at South Carolina athletically and academically and feel that the program is in a position to be nationally competitive.”

Hyman said the arrests this month of two of Walvius’ players on charges of credit card theft and fraud and intent to distribute to marijuana had no impact on her resignation.

But Hyman refused to divulge what he discussed with Walvius when the two met for Hyman’s annual evaluation of the women’s program.

“Those were private discussions I’ve had with her,” he said. “My thing is to evaluate where we are and what are the things we can do to improve our program.”

Hired by Mike McGee in 1997, Walvius had four consecutive losing seasons before guiding to the Gamecocks to the Elite Eight in 2002 — the farthest a USC team (men or women) has advanced in the NCAA tournament in school history.

USC returned to the NCAAs the following year but has not been back since. The Gamecocks made the WNIT field the past three years, falling to N.C. State in the second round this season to finish 16-16.

The 43-year-old Walvius, who coached at Virginia Commonwealth and West Virginia prior to USC, has a 263-261 record in 18 years as a head coach.

Hyman thanked Walvius for her contributions to the community, university and athletics department. Walvius developed a mentoring program with female professionals in Columbia such as S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal, an avid supporter of Walvius’ program.

“I love the people in the Columbia community and am especially grateful to the many Columbia leaders who have given their time to mentor our athletes,” Walvius said. “I wish everyone at USC all the best and continued success.”

Hyman said a search for Walvius’ successor would begin immediately. As he did when hiring Darrin Horn to replace Odom as the men’s coach, Hyman plans to solicit opinions from players and university officials to develop a profile of the Gamecocks’ next coach.

“We’ll do a national search and we’ll hire the best possible person for the job,” Hyman said.

Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.

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