Hyman led TCU to 29 conference titles

Updated: April 16, 2005, 3:36 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina hired Eric Hyman as athletic director on Saturday, bringing the former Furman assistant football coach and administrator back to his Palmetto state roots.

The executive committee of the university's board of trustees approved the hiring as thousands of fans gathered nearby at Williams-Brice Stadium to watch new South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks at the Garnet and Black spring game.

"The one thing that stands out more than anything else is the love and the passion and the loyalty that South Carolina fans have for their school and their athletic program," Hyman said. "This was an easy decision to come to South Carolina."

Hyman's five-year deal gives him $375,000 a year as a base salary, plus he could earn up to $75,000 in incentives each year. He also has a tax-deferred retirement plan and relocation loan that could net him about $530,000 annually.

"He is a man of enormous integrity," said university President Andrew Sorensen, who narrowed a list of 40 candidates to six and ultimately settled on Hyman. "He has an exemplary record."

Hyman has been athletic director at TCU the past eight years, leading the Horned Frogs to 29 conference titles. Named national athletic director of the year for 2003-04, Hyman replaces Mike McGee, who announced he was stepping down June 30 from the job he's held since 1993. Hyman will start at South Carolina on July 1.

McGee brought national championship coaches Lou Holtz and Spurrier to the school and oversaw construction of the $65 million Colonial Center arena, the home for the school's basketball teams the past three seasons.

Hyman spent 11 years at Furman University as an assistant football coach and later as an administrator under then-athletic director Dick Sheridan.

"Eric's obviously a very talented person -- very, very smart. He's a good leader," Sheridan said. "He's a coach's athletic director."

Hyman echoed those sentiments. "I coach the department like a team," he said.

That sounds a lot like McGee, the 1959 Outland Trophy winner as a Duke offensive lineman who was athletic director at Cincinnati and Southern Cal when he moved across the country to take over at South Carolina.

Hyman played football at North Carolina and was athletic director at Virginia Military Institute and Miami of Ohio before taking the job at TCU.

Both TCU and South Carolina have ongoing NCAA investigations that each athletic director would like to resolve before departing.

"There is some things at TCU that have taken place with our men's track program that gave them advantages," Hyman said. "Based on the behavior of some individuals, there is going to be some consequences. How that all plays out, I don't know. I've never gone through anything like this before."

TCU fired its track and field coach Monte Stratton and an assistant coach resigned as the school investigated allegations of "serious improprieties" in the program.

At South Carolina, Hyman takes over a program that has generated excitement in recent years. In addition to the hirings of Holtz and Spurrier, the Gamecocks have made three straight appearances in the College World Series and the basketball team recently won the NIT championship.

South Carolina also has plans for 6,000-seat baseball stadium on school-owned land adjacent the 18,000-seat Colonial Center. There also are plans for a new athletic facilities near the stadium.

"I've lived here for 11 years and it's good to be back," Hyman said. "To me, this is going to be a recipe for success."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press