USC Men's Basketball

Reports: USC assistant set to be next Austin Peay coach

The South Carolina men’s basketball team’s Final Four run could mean bigger opportunities for some on the staff.

CBSSports’ Gary Parrish and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted Gamecocks assistant Matt Figger was in talks to become the next head coach at Austin Peay on Wednesday afternoon, and soon after, Autumn Allison, who covers the Governors for The Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville, Tenn., reported it was a done deal.

Sources told The State that Figger interviewed with Austin Peay on Monday.

He is the second assistant coach to leave USC in the last two years. Lamont Evans left to join Oklahoma State's staff last year. He has since been promoted to associate head coach under new Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton, also a former Gamecocks assistant.

Figger has been with Frank Martin through for all five years in Columbia and has been associate head coach the past four. He would be replacing Dave Loos, who coached the team for 27 years.

It’s a situation Martin was expecting.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Martin said this weekend. “Matt Figger is going to be an unbelievable head coach as soon as he given opportunity. I think Brad Underwood has shown that he’s pretty good at it. I go back to my high school days, I had six assistant coaches in my high school team become head high school coaches. I take a lot of pride. I give those assistants a lot of responsibilities, they will tell you.

“I’m trying to help them prepare to become head coaches, I ask them to teach, I ask them to coach.”

Figger received a raise in 2016 to make his salary $262,500. Loos was paid $210,865 last year before retiring.

Figger, who was also recruiting coordinator, was a Martin assistant for five years at Kansas State. The Eastern Kentucky alum started his career with a short stint as director of operations at Arkansas and then as an assistant at South Alabama.

David Cloninger contributed to this report.

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