COLUMBIA — South Carolina‘s publicly drawn out search to replace Frank Martin is over.
And it ends in historic fashion.
Lamont Paris is set to be hired as USC’s next head men’s basketball coach, replacing Martin who was at the helm for 10 years. Paris, 47, becomes the first Black head men’s basketball coach in school history as well as the first to be hired for a top men’s coaching position on campus.
He comes to Columbia from Chattanooga, where he led the Mocs to the NCAA Tournament this season.
According to a report from ESPN, South Carolina and Paris agreed to a five-year contract, which will be up for approval from USC’s Board of Trustees this week.
The Mocs nearly upset Illinois in the NCAA opening round last week, losing a heartbreaker, 54-53. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner’s quest for the program’s next coach was an arduous process since Martin was fired March 14.
The school had zeroed in on former Arizona and newly hired Xavier coach Sean Miller, new LSU coach Matt McMahon from Murray State and new Missouri and former Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates, who reportedly was South Carolina’s first choice.
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All three had interviewed but all decided on other positions.
In five seasons at Chattanooga, Paris led the program to an 87-70 record, including two 20-win campaigns and reached the pinnacle in 2021-22 by beating Furman in the Southern Conference championship.
As an assistant under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin, Paris coached in a national championship game in 2014-15. The Badgers also advanced to another Final Four and four Sweet 16s during his time there.
The main thing that overshadowed Martin’s tenure at USC was the lack of postseason appearances.
He did lead the Gamecocks to a Final Four in 2017, but he and the program could not cash in on the magical run, missing all NCAA Tournaments since then. The only other postseason bid for USC under Martin was an National Invitational Tournament berth in 2016.
Cory Diaz covers the South Carolina Gamecocks for The Greenville News as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his work for all things Gamecocks on Twitter: @CoryDiaz_TGN. Got questions regarding South Carolina athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: South Carolina to hire Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris as men’s hoops coach