Since the end of the USC basketball season March 11th, the future of head coach Frank Martin with the program has been in doubt. We reported March 13th that University President Bob Caslen and athletics director Ray Tanner had decided to move in another direction with the program and make a change. That would require a more than six million dollar buyout of the final two years of Martin’s contract.
The hope from USC’s standpoint was that Martin would land another job, and that would save them on the buyout and also allow them to avoid a messy firing of a coach who is generally well liked by the fans and respected nationally in the college basketball community.
According to a source, over the last 48 hours, the sentiment has shifted to Martin remaining as the Gamecocks head coach, largely due to pressure exerted by some state senators on USC’s administration and the Board of Trustees.
At least one former state senator who is a Martin proponent garnered up support from some of his former colleagues to pressure Caslen to keep Martin and not have to pay the buyout, or risk funding for some future projects on the drawing board for USC.
As things look Friday afternoon, USC apparently will retain Martin unless Martin himself decides to step away from the situation, or he finds another job.
Martin just completed his ninth season as head coach of the Gamecocks, and it was the poorest of his time in Columbia with a 6-15 mark, 4-13 in SEC competition.
Martin is 153-134 overall at USC (53%) and 74-91 (45%) in conference games. He led the Gamecocks to a school record 26 wins and to the Final Four in 2016-17 in his one NCAA Tournament appearance with the program. The Gamecocks made the NIT the previous season.
The Gamecocks had a streak of six consecutive non-losing seasons end this year, one of the most successful runs in the program’s history.