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Goodman: No Contact Between Gamecocks, Martin

Kansas State coach Frank Martin’s name recently popped up in connection with South Carolina’s basketball opening.

Martin very well may end up being a candidate at South Carolina, but the two sides have yet to speak, according to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. Goodman wrote the following on twitter:

“According to multiple sources, there has been no contact between South Carolina and Frank Martin. Martin has been out recruiting last 2 days”

Of course, there’s still plenty of time for South Carolina to make contact with Martin. But for now, the attention appears to be pointed elsewhere.

UPDATE: It appears another popular name in the South Carolina search, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, has also yet to receive a call from the Gamecocks.

Mr. Goodman posted that news item on Tuesday afternoon.

“Marshall appears the obvious choice,” Goodman wrote. “However, sources told CBSSports.com that Marshall — a South Carolina native who led the Shockers to the NCAA tournament this past season — has not been contacted by South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman.”

South Carolina fans will likely understand the Martin news. After all, how interested will he truly be in leaving Kansas State for South Carolina?

But the Marshall information is tough to explain. As Mr. Goodman wrote, Marshall appears to be the obvious choice in Columbia. At least to a lot of people outside Columbia.

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Rumor/Report: K-State’s Martin Interested In Carolina Job

GamecockCentral.com — the Rivals site covering South Carolina — is reporting that Kansas State head coach Frank Martin “has been confirmed as a candidate with ‘heavy’ interest in USC, according to a source close to the situation.”  (That’s paywall stuff, folks, so you’ll need to buy a subscription for more.)

If true, it seems that Carolina AD Eric Hyman could book one flight to Kansas City and knock out a pair of interviews — one with Martin and one with believed-to-be-top-candidate Gregg Marshall of Wichita State.

Martin — a Miami native — is known for his drill-sergeant style (hell, in a movie R. Lee Ermey would play him… NSFW, by the way.).  He is also known for taking Kansas State to four NCAA tournaments in his five years in Manhattan.  The 45-year-old has never won fewer than 21 games in a season and has a .684 winning percentage. 

But he currently makes $1.5 million in a basketball-loving state.  Would he really have “heavy” interest in moving to a football-first league and a program that’s seen the downfalls of George Felton, Eddie Fogler, Dave Odom and Darrin Horn in the past 20 years?

If so — and if Carolina could offer him enough cash to make the move — he’d be the second ex-Bob Huggins assistant to coach in the league along with old colleague Andy Kennedy.  Hmmm.  Seems all those Huggins guys have tempers when you think about it.

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SEC Coaching Carousel Updates

There are two SEC programs searching for a new head coach.  A third school might be looking for one if they can’t hold onto theirs.

We’ll start with South Carolina where native son Gregg Marshall is still expected to be high on the list.  Trouble is, there are plenty of people in Kansas who are saying it’ll take a lot of cash to lure Marshall away from Wichita State.  From columnists in Wichita to ESPN’s Andy Katz, it’s clear that someone is driving up Marshall’s price tag on the coach’s behalf.  Word is that the Shockers’ coach wants at least $2 million to takeover a Gamecock program that ends coaching careers with great regularity.

If Marshall can’t be had, don’t be surprised if AD Eric Hyman makes a run at Duke assistant Jeff Capel.  Hyman tried to hire him when he inked Darrin Horn.  Capel has washed out once at Oklahoma and the program was put on probation under his watch.  (Though like John Calipari, Capel was not accused of any wrongdoing.)

Meanwhile, president Mark Keenum of Mississippi State says AD Scott Stricklin is just getting started in his search for a Rick Stansbury replacement.  Promoting an assistant — that’s how MSU has landed its last two coaches — is not out of the question and outgoing point guard Dee Bost has already tweeted his support for ex-Stansbury aide Phil Cunningham.

Katz also tosses out the name of Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne — a man with ties to the Magnolia State — as a potential candidate in Starkville.

Whoever State hires will inherit a program in flux.  And MSU recruits are now mulling their options.

Finally, there may or may not be an opening at Ole Miss.  There’s been speculation from multiple sources all weekend (and today with the aforementioned Katz) that Andy Kennedy might be a target for his alma mater, UAB.

Kennedy is expected to meet with UM chancellor Dan Jones regarding his contract over the next “several weeks.”  The school is also looking for a replacement for AD Pete Boone, which further complicates Kennedy’s contract negotiations.

If UAB does make a run at Kennedy, he’ll likely have to take a pay cut to return to his old stomping grounds.  As we pointed out last week, previous Blazer coach Mike Davis made about half as much as Kennedy currently pulls down in Oxford.

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Stansbury To “Retire” At MSU Today

Now we know why Scott Stricklin has been so quiet the last 24 hours.  He’s been working out a “retirement” package for head basketball coach Rick Stansbury.  The winningest coach in MSU history is expected to announce this afternoon that he’s stepping down after three NCAA Tournament-less seasons.

Stansbury — who served as an assistant at State from 1990 through 1998 before taking over as head coach — compiled a career mark of 293-165.  That’s a winning percentage of .641.  He fielded 10 20-win teams.  He also took the Bulldogs to 11 postseason tournaments (six NCAAs, five NITs) in his 14 years in the captain’s chair.

But Stansbury failed to lead the Dogs to a single Sweet Sixteen.  His last three years have been marked by disappointments on the court and embarrassing issues off it (most of which stemmed from the signing of Renardo Sidney, who can rightfully be called a “coach-killer” at this point).  Fan support dwindled as the faithful became tired of seeing the same guy stalk the Humphrey Coliseum sideline.

Stansbury is just 52 years of age, so if you think he’s actually “retiring” without a gentle nudge from AD Scott Stricklin’s shoe, you’re dreaming.  Expect him to coach again at some point.  With his record, he’ll get a shot somewhere.

As for State — like South Carolina — it’s now all about the job search.  No doubt you’ll hear the biggest and hottest names in the biz kicked around by fans and fan websites.  Expect to hear Cowbell ringers from Hernando to Pascagoula shouting “Shaka Smart!”

Who Mississippi State can actually land?  Well, that’s another matter.  We’d put our money on an up-and-comer.  Don’t be surprised if Gregg Marshall of Wichita State doesn’t suddenly pop up on two SEC programs’ radar, for example.

But for now, the focus will be on Stansbury for just a few more hours.  Fans have been invited to attend his press conference at 2pm ET.  There some of the same people who’ve called for his ouster can soothe their consciences by cheering him and thanking him for his valuable contribution to MSU hoops.

Contributions that are unmatched in school history.  Contributions a new coach will be expected to top.

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