USC Gamecocks Football

Pat Washington is off South Carolina’s coaching staff but on payroll ... for now

Ray Tanner explains latest football hire, extension

South Carolina Gamecocks athletic director explains adding Thomas Brown to the football staff, extending Eric Wolford and several other athletic department issues
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South Carolina Gamecocks athletic director explains adding Thomas Brown to the football staff, extending Eric Wolford and several other athletic department issues

South Carolina tight ends coach Pat Washington came out on the wrong end of a well-worn cliche.

“He is pursuing other opportunities,” Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner said before declining to comment if the choice was Washington’s or that of his boss.

That’s the nature of the business. South Carolina added Thomas Brown. His specialty in running backs pushed Bobby Bentley elsewhere. That turned out to be tight ends, leaving Washington an odd man out.

But the nature of the business means Washington will likely still be collecting checks from USC for the next few months.

His contract, like many of South Carolina’s assistants, expires May 31. Asked what happens on that front, Tanner said the rest of the $300,000 deal will be paid out, unless he lands a new job.

If Washington is hired on somewhere, South Carolina will only be on the hook for making him whole, i.e. covering the difference between his new deal and $300,000. If he finds someone who will pay him that much or more, USC is off the hook.

Washington has been an FBS assistant since 1989. He spent a decade on Tennessee’s staff, and since had a series of shorter stints, one year at Kansas State, two at Mississippi State, three at Southern Miss, one in Kentucky and now three with the Gamecocks.

He came to USC from Missouri, after Gary Pinkel retired following the 2015 season. Washington went from making $342,000 his last year with the Tigers to $200,000 his first year in South Carolina.

“It’s not an enjoyable experience,” Tanner said when asked about his own experience letting a staffer go. “It’s not a good day. We’re all professionals. ... In the world of sports, it’s more prevalent than it ever has been in the past, for whatever reason.”

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