It’s perfectly understandable why South Carolina would want to fire Darrin Horn after four seasons, as apparently the Gamecocks will announce at a 1:30 p.m. press conference today. After all, the Gamecocks have such a rich and storied basketball history.
Since 1975, number of South Carolina trips to the NCAA Tournament: 4.
Since 1974, number of South Carolina wins in the NCAA Tournament: 0.
After the legendary Frank McGuire, who had not won an NCAA Tourney game in seven seasons, was pushed out in 1980, Bill Foster, George Felton, Steve Newton, Eddie Fogler and Dave Odom, before Horn, tried and failed at South Carolina. Foster had taken Duke to the 1978 NCAA title game where it lost to UK. Felton had been a top assistant to Bobby Cremins at Georgia Tech. Newton had won at Murray State. Fogler had won at Vanderbilt. Odom had won at Wake Forest.
four five combined for four NCAA Tournament appearances while coaching in Columbia.
So after leading Western Kentucky to a Sweet 16 berth four years ago, Darrin Horn took over the Gamecocks with high hopes. To be sure, the Tates Creek High School graduate has not found resounding success. His last three teams have gone 13-35 in the SEC. Attendance has been a problem.
Neither of those is foreign to the program, however. Fogler was 14-34 in the SEC his last three years there. Odom was just one game better, 15-33, his last three seasons.
South Carolina basketball is a tough job. Football is king and North Carolina is close by to poach the state’s better basketball talent. The school is stuck in the past, thinking that McGuire is the coach and John Roche the star. It plays in the relatively new but disappointingly bland Colonial Life Center.
No matter, South Carolina has opted to tear up the game plan and start all over again, probably in hopes of luring home-state hero Gregg Marshall from Wichita State. Maybe Marshall wants to give up one of the two or three best programs in the underrated Missouri Valley Conference just so he can knock heads with Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt every year.
Or maybe the lure of that great South Carolina basketball history will be too much to turn down.