Gamecocks close to a final decision on Martin’s future

Gamecocks close to a final decision on Martin’s future
South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin speaks to his team during the game against Texas A&M at Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. (Source: Joshua Boucher)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In the coming days, South Carolina intends to finalize Frank Martin’s future as its men’s basketball head coach.

On Friday, WIS sources confirmed that the UofSC Board of Trustees was mainly in favor of retaining coach Martin. It’s unclear how UofSC President Bob Caslen and Athletics Director Ray Tanner are leaning.

Sources confirmed Tanner and Martin met Friday to continue negotiations.

There has been much speculation about whether or not Martin would return for a tenth season. The 55-year-old Martin has two years left on his current deal, and the university would owe him $6.5 million if they parted ways (unless otherwise negotiated).

Martin made his intentions clear before the season ended that he wished to remain with the Gamecocks.

“This is home,” said Martin. “My family loves it here. I love it here.”

During Martin’s tenure, the program reached new heights. His best season featured the program’s first Final Four trip and a school-record 26 wins in the 2016-2017 campaign.

However, this past season featured numerous challenges. Martin personally battled COVID-19 on two separate occasions. The second bout in January took its toll on him both physically and mentally.

The team played only one game in December at Houston. Several days later, the Cougars paused basketball operations because nearly their entire team contracted the virus.

Unfortunately, the Gamecock men’s basketball program suffered a similar fate and halted team activities for weeks. They did not play again until January 2nd, 2021.

Shortly after the return, Carolina had its second COVID-related pause. They had a 10-day layoff between their game against Texas A&M and LSU on January 16th. Due to COVID-19 protocols, Martin, assistant coach Chuck Martin, and Doug Edwards, who handles student-athlete development, were not in attendance.

The Gamecocks never found their footing the rest of the way and finished with a record of 6-15.

“This has been a crazy year,” said Martin after the team’s loss at the SEC Tournament. “Our team was impacted. I handled some things differently this year than I’ve handled it my whole career.”

“I’m at peace with things, that this is not year one or year three in my coaching career. This is year 36. I hope you guys understand that. I’m at peace with how I do things and how my teams play. We didn’t play that way this year. Like I told you guys the other day, you want to act a certain way or react a certain way, whatever, based on this year, you have the right to do that.”

“But there’s eight other years previous to this year where my team played completely different than this year’s team. I’m at peace with that. I just have to figure out how I handled some things so I can do my job a little bit better.”

A decision on Martin’s status as Carolina’s coach is expected as soon as Sunday or Monday.

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