According to multiple sources and reports from the Palmetto State, South Carolina baseball coach Ray Tanner will be hired as the school’s athletic director on Friday. At 54, Tanner has made it clear that his future lies in administration. Now the Gamecocks will give him that chance, but it comes at a price.
Tanner — who came within a whisker of leading Carolina to a third-straight national title this season — will step down immediately as the Cocks’ coach. He will not double-dip as both coach and AD.
Earlier this week, the man Tanner will replace said that anyone moving from the coaching ranks to the ranks of administrator might have a tough early transition. According to Eric Hyman (who’s heading to Texas A&M at the end of the month):
“(The board of trustees) needs to decide what they think is in best interest of the school and if Ray’s it, he is certainty capable. He is a very,very talented baseball coach and he’s got talent and it is going to be a learning curve for him, and so what he needs to do, is have a strong staff to be able to support him and assist.”
Well, according to folks in Columbia, the board and USC president Harris Pastides have indeed made their decision. And it’s Tanner.
While the day of the ex-coach as AD has for the most part died away, there are still a few exes running big time programs — Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin and Tom Osborne at Nebraska come to mind. Still, Hyman is right. There will be a transition involved. Carolina could have gone out and grabbed an experienced AD. The program’s coffers, fan support, and excellent stable of coaches would have made the job very enticing to anyone.
Instead, the powers-that-be felt more comfortable with the man they knew. If Tanner is as successful in the boardroom as he’s been on the baseball diamond, Carolina fans will be happy with that decision for years to come.