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Basketball Media Days: Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy answers questions at the SEC Basketball Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.

 

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Ranking The SEC Basketball Coaches… By Their Twitter Skills?

twitter-logoWhen folks in jet packs someday look back at sports coverage in the early part of the 21st century, they will likely view the age as being defined by two things: the boom in social media and a growing love of lists.  If we aren’t tweeting or Facebooking, we’re reading lists.  Or tweeting our own lists.

So what could be better than a list about tweeting… that in turn was itself promoted on Twitter?

SportingNews.com has published a list today ranking the SEC’s head basketball coaches according to their tweeting abilities.  Who tweets the most?  How many folks do they follow?  How many people are following them?  What kinds of tweets do they send out?

Sorry, but we don’t care.

For those who do, you can read the whys and how-comes of the list right here.  And for those who just want to see another list, here’s how that site ranks the SEC’s hoops coaches as Twitterers.  Or should that be tweeters?

 

1.  John Calipari, Kentucky

2.  Frank Martin, South Carolina

3.  Rick Ray, Mississippi State

4.  Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee

5.  Billy Donovan, Florida

6.  Mark Fox, Georgia

7.  Tony Barbee, Auburn

8.  Mike Anderson, Arkansas

9.  Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M

10.  Frank Haith, Missouri

11.  Johnny Jones, LSU

 

Alabama’s Anthony Grant, Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy, and Vandy’s Kevin Stallings all tied for worst Twitterers in the Southeastern Conference.  Better fire ‘em.

(And, hey, if you like Tweets, check out our Twitter feed which has been listed as one of the must-read feeds for guys and sports fans by both Maxim Magazine and Athlon Sports.)

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A&M Outduels Carolina For A.D. Hyman

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.

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SEC Headlines – 5/10/12

1.  As we noted earlier today, expect the SEC to be on top of the Mt. Television-Revenue when its new CBS and ESPN deals are finalized.

2.  Alabama AD Mal Moore opens up about firing Mike Shula and hiring Nick Saban.

3.  Mike Anderson has added a juco forward to Arkansas’ 2012-13 roster.

4.  LSU guard Ralston Turner has been given a release from new coach Johnny Jones and will consider transferring.

5.  Texas A&M’s next AD will need for Kevin Sumlin and Billy Kennedy to succeed.

6.  Here’s a post-spring look at Florida’s running back situation.

7.  Freshman John Theus will get a shot to crack Georgia’s starting O-line in preseason camp.

8.  Come Monday, Mark Richt will be able to use his phone again.

9.  The academic status of Kentucky signee Nerlens Noel might be a bigger issue than ongoing NCAA snooping.

10.  Indiana’s Tom Crean discusses the end of the UK-IU basketball series.

11.  South Carolina junior guards Eric Smith and Brian Richardson intend to stay put under Frank Martin.  (Sorry, but it’s behind a paywall, folks.)

12.  Derek Dooley feels that all the anchors that were weighing down Tennessee’s program are gone.

13.  Frank Haith is building his Missouri program with transfers (from Auburn, Oregon, Pepperdine, Tulsa and UConn).

14.  Mel Kiper lists nine SEC players on this Top 25 Big Board for next year’s NFL draft… and only two of those players are seniors.

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Prohm Is MSU’s “Primary Target” For Hoops Job

According to Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, Mississippi State’s search to replace Rick Stansbury is focusing in on Murray State head coach Steve Prohm:


“According to sources, at least one person working on behalf of Mississippi State has already reached out to Prohm, whose Racers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Marquette on Saturday.  The next step in the process remains unclear.  But, multiple sources said, Prohm is Mississippi State’s primary target for now.”


Parrish also states that Prohm would be interested in MSU’s job because of the clear upgrade from Murray State (“prestige) and a big boost in salary (“milions of dollars”).  Prohm is also a good ol’ Southern man, raised in Georgia and an Alabama grad.  He’s also recruited the Magnolia State well for Murray State.

To make if more clear that State is targeting Prohm, WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky is reporting that Murray State AD didn’t appreciate MSU’s search firm — Parker Executive Search out of Atlanta — placing a call to his coach last week during the Racers NCAA run.

“I think there’s a right way to do things.  Considering we were still playing — it is what it is.”  He said his coach handled things properly by alerting him to the “would-ya-be-interested” call he received.

Also in that television report it’s pointed out that Prohm said after his team’s ouster from the tournament (and after being contacted by MSU):  “Oh, yeah, I’ll be back in Murray.  I’ll be back in Murray.  I love Murray and I want to be at Murray.  We signed a great class and we’ve got great kids coming back.  We’ve got a great future here.”

Is that a play for leverage with State?  Maybe.  But after a meeting between the coach and Murray State AD that lasted “for several hours” yesterday, Ward said: “There’s a great chance he’ll stay.  In the end, I think he’ll be back.”

Prohm is 37-years-old and he just concluded his first season as a head coach, replacing Billy Kennedy who left the Racers for Texas A&M prior to this season.  Granted, a 31-2 record is pretty doggone impressive, but hiring Prohm would basically be like hiring an assistant coach — which is what he was from 1998 through 2011 at Centenary, Southeastern Louisiana, Tulane, and under Kennedy at Murray State.

When a major school hires an assistant said aide usually comes from a bigger program.  Had Prohm not had his one year in the sun this season, would State be chasing him?  Or is a one-year run long enough for Parker Executive and AD Scott Stricklin to truly gauge a winner?

Arkansas once hired a long-time assistant with one good year of head coaching experience under his belt named Stan Heath.  Heath left that program in a mess roster- and APR-wise when he was dismissed in 2007.  Five years later, he took South Florida on an impressive run to the NCAA tourney this year.  But that success doesn’t mean much for Arkansas.

Prohm makes sense in that he knows the SEC and he’s recruited Mississippi.  But his track record as a head coach is short and there’s no denying that Kennedy was the head coach as Murray State’s program was being built.

If, however, Prohm does wind up being Mississippi State’s man, expect us to write that “There’s a date for the Prohm” when the Bulldogs schedule the announcement.  There’s no way we’ll be able to avoid writing that.  Sorry in advance.

Meanwhile, Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton has also been mentioned in connection with the job in Starkville.

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