Who will be USC's next athletics director?

Published: Jul. 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2012 at 7:01 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While politicos in Washington DC wax endlessly about the short list for Mitt Romney's choice for vice president, sports fans in Columbia are mulling over a short list of their own: Who will replace outgoing USC athletics director Eric Hyman?

The first on most USC fans' lists is current head baseball coach Ray Tanner. Many have tapped Tanner's leadership qualities as just what the Gamecock athletic department needs to continue their successes on and off the field.

Since arriving on campus in 1997, the baseball program has never finished with a below .500 record. The Gamecocks have made the last 13 NCAA tournaments, including three straight College World Series finals and won two national titles.

Tanner's success on the field makes him an intriguing candidate for the USC athletic director's position. However, Tanner says he's not ready to give up the pursuit of more championships and, of course, coaching.

"I just finished my 25th year and I love being on the field," Tanner said. "I still love the players. I love coaching them. I'm excited about that. I don't think I am over the hill and I like being out there, so I don't think I am at a point that I have to walk away."

Tanner did not, however, say no to the potential of the position.

"Well, I wouldn't say that I am not interested, but I am saying that I am not finished coaching yet," Tanner said.

Tanner aside, there are plenty of other names being speculated in circles around Columbia, such as former USC football player Brad Edwards.

Edwards has been at Newberry College as their vice president of intercollegiate athletics since 2009. Although he was a Gamecock player in a past life, he held the position of senior associate athletics director at USC a few years ago.

Looking outside the Palmetto State, current Georgia Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich could also be considered for the position.

Radakovich also has ties to South Carolina. He held the position of associate athletics director at USC from 1994 to 2000. His name also appeared linked to Texas A&M's open athletics director seat before Hyman was officially announced as the new AD at College Station, Texas.

The candidates previously linked to South Carolina don't end there as Middle Tennessee State University athletics director Chris Massaro and Liberty University athletics director Jeff Barber could be called back to the Gamecocks as well.

Massaro and Barber once both held the job of senior associate athletic director while in Columbia.

Or perhaps USC could throw everyone for a loop and go with an outside hire. After all, Hyman had no previous link to South Carolina before he was named athletics director in 2005.

Until USC finalizes a contract, the university will seek an interim athletics director. Current senior associate athletics director Charles Waddell seems likely to fill that role.

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