Gamecocks Toot Their Horn

Eschewing its recent history of hiring venerable coaches in the main sports the University of South Carolina is going the "up-and-comer" route with its basketball program.

Tomorrow the Gamecocks will announce the hiring of Darrin Horn to take over for Dave Odom. Horn will be leaving his alma mater, Western Kentucky after a successful five-year run capped by this year's appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Horn will inherit a pretty solid roster with a Carolina team that had just one senior (Dwayne Day) last season. Horn's Western teams played an up tempo style which should better utilize guys like Devon Downey and Zam Fredrick. Add in Mike Holmes, Dominique Archie and Evaldas Baniulis you have a pretty good starting point. Carolina was 14-18 last season, but six of those losses were by three points or less or in overtime. Thus it won't take much improvement to significantly improve their record.

The hiring of Horn will leave LSU the lone SEC team seeking a coach. The Tigers are getting a lot of internal pressure to hire long time former LSU assistant and Tiger player Johnny Jones or current interim coach Butch Pierre. Of course it's hard to hire a coach in the middle of an Athletic Director search. LSU now has 15 known candidates to replace retiring A.D. Skip Bertman including Florida's No. 2 man Greg McGarrity. Ideally you would want the new coach to be chosen by the new A.D., but LSU may not be able to afford to wait. Thus a one year appointment for Pierre might be in their best interests.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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