Eric Hyman is headed back to Texas.
South Carolina’s athletics director resigned Friday to take the same position at Texas A&M. Hyman, who spent seven years at Texas Christian University before serving a seven-year tenure with the Gamecocks, will lead the Aggies through their transition to the SEC, which begins this fall.
“I am very excited for the opportunity,” Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “While this is a tremendous opportunity, the downside is leaving all the dedicated and loyal fans in Gamecock Nation and the best athletic department in the country. Pauline and I have loved living in Columbia. It will be sad to leave all the wonderful friends we have made.”
Texas A&M, which collected more than $87 million in athletics revenue last year according to a USA Today study, has the nation’s 16th-richest athletic department. Hyman made $500,000 annually at South Carolina, ranking ninth in the SEC. He will replace Bill Byrne, who made $690,000 last year at Texas A&M.
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South Carolina’s board of trustees met Friday on regularly scheduled business, and Hyman briefly attended the meeting. He declined comment to reporters entering the meeting and left without making any comment to the media or the board. He officially informed USC president Harris Pastides of his decision later in the day.
After learning of Hyman’s discussions with Texas A&M, a group of board members was willing to give Hyman a $200,000 raise, according to two sources, but Hyman never asked for or received a counteroffer, Pastides said.
“I wish him the best,” said football coach Steve Spurrier, who spoke with Hyman briefly about his resignation Friday. “He has done a fabulous job here as athletics director. He’ll go down right now as the best athletics director we have had here when you look at the status of athletics, graduation, facilities.”
Spurrier often credited the facilities improvement pushed through by Hyman for helping his team recruit better players.
“After seven years, sometimes it just appears there is a better situation for you,” Spurrier said. “He likes a challenge, and Texas A&M is a school that has enormous potential, I think just like South Carolina had enormous potential when he got here. I enjoyed working for him.”
Hyman, 61, has overseen USC’s development of a nearly $200 million master plan of facilities, which includes Carolina Stadium for baseball, the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center and the coaches support center, which will open in July. Several improvements to Williams-Brice Stadium were made or begun during Hyman’s tenure, including the video board that will debut at this year’s home opener against East Carolina on Sept. 8.
“I just want to say what gratitude we have for Eric Hyman for the job he did during his service of the university,” trustee Chuck Allen said. “He has served as athletics director during the most successful period of athletics in school history, and I wish him the best.”
Hyman was the athletics director at TCU from 1998-2005. His son and daughter and their spouses live in Fort Worth, Texas, and Hyman and his wife are expecting their first grandchild in November.
“Family trumps everything,” Allen said, “and his entire family is in the state of Texas and I understand that he has a grandchild on the way. As a parent myself, I fully understand the need to make this move.”
Hyman, who took the South Carolina job on July 1 of 2005, could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
WHAT THEY SAID
..... “We wish Eric well in his next endeavor. The University of South Carolina bears the marks of his leadership — from enhanced facilities to the hiring of strong coaches to higher student graduation rates. We will miss him on our team, but his legacy has made us stronger.”- Dr. Harris Pastides, USC president
..... “The Board of Trustees is pleased with Eric’s many achievements and we believe he served The University of South Carolina well. Our student athletes are performing well on and off the field. Our facilities have grown and a new Athletics Village is soon to open. He is leaving us with a better athletics program, and we are grateful for his service.”- Miles Loadholt, USC Board of Trustees chairman
..... “After seven years, sometimes it just appears there is a better situation for you. He likes a challenge, and Texas A&M is a school that has enormous potential, I think, just like South Carolina had enormous potential when he got here. I enjoyed working for him.”- USC football coach Steve Spurrier
..... “I am very excited for the opportunity to help transition Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference. While this is a tremendous opportunity, the downside is leaving all the dedicated and loyal fans in Gamecock Nation and the best athletic department in the country. Pauline and I have loved living in Columbia. It will be sad to leave all the wonderful friends we have made." - Eric Hyman