We waited to post this one up in the hopes that something would become official. That has apparently happened. Texas A&M’s supposed push for Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich now looks like the mother of all smokescreens as the Aggies have hired Eric Hyman from new conference rival South Carolina.
That’s certainly be one way to ignite the two schools’ new permanent cross-divisional rivalry in football.
The Houston Chronicle — quoting an Aggie source early this morning — wrote that A&M had “tabbed” Hyman as it’s new AD, replacing the forced-out Bill Byrne. Columbia’s The State reported that USC was making a last ditch effort to keep the man who’s helped turn around the Gamecock athletic department.
But Hyman has officially stepped down at Carolina in the past 15 minutes. David Cloninger of GamecockCentral.com — the Rivals’ site covering the Cocks — tweeted the following, however:
Hyman was the athletic director at TCU from 1997 through 2005 before heading to Columbia and the 61-year-old still has a son and daughter who live in Fort Worth.
Since arriving at Carolina, he’s overseen facility improvements and increased donations. His hire of Steve Spurrier as football coach took a while to ferment, but now that move is producing wine as fine as the coach’s own “Cock-n-Fire” Cabernet Sauvignon. (Don’t know about you, but when I see the words “cock” and “fire” on a wine label, I’m not buying the bottle.)
In basketball he landed Dawn Staley — one of the biggest names in the women’s game — and then lured Frank Martin to Columbia from Kansas State just a few short months ago.
This is a big, splashy hire for A&M as they kick off their SEC era… and quite a loss for Carolina. Changes at the athletic director post are also difficult for the coaches involved. Kevin Sumlin and Billy Kennedy in College Station are both new to their jobs and will have to hope they’ll get along with Hyman and that he’ll like what he sees of them.
Back in Columbia, Spurrier and Martin — who has to feel a bit shocked by this — will be left to wonder who their next boss will be and whether or not he’ll be as supportive as Hyman has been.
Hyman was considered an AD candidate at both Tennessee and North Carolina last year.
CORRECTION — Hey, when we’re wrong, we admit it. And I blew one in my rush to finish up today’s posts and head off to do a radio show. Above you’ll see that I credited Eric Hyman with the hire of Steve Spurrier. Spurrier’s first season in Columbia was 2005. Hyman started at South Carolina in 2005. Couple those facts with the fast-deteriorating memory of a 40-year-old writer who thought he remembered Hyman hiring Spurrier and you’ve got a guy who didn’t feel he had to look it up just to be sure. Whoops.
Hyman didn’t hire Spurrier. He supported him vocally over the years, gave him and his assistants competitive raises, and he brought in enough money to help the Ol’ Ball Coach build the program. But he didn’t hire him.
Spurrier was actually hired in November of 2004 in one of the final acts of South Carolina’s previous athletic director, Mike McGee (with some help from outgoing coach and Spurrier buddy Lou Holtz). Thanks to a commenter below for pointing out my error in a non-jerkish way.
This wasn’t a typo done on the fly by someone who writes a few million words a day, this was a full-on flub. And just as we tell you when we’re proven right — it’s called advertising — I have no problem owning up to a mistake — it’s called being accountable.
Above I mentioned Spurrier’s “Cock-N-Fire” wine. Well, to quote Gene Hackman in “Unforgiven,” when it comes to me on the Hyman-hired-Spurrier part, the word “Misfire!” applies. My apologies. And thanks for reading the site.