COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? Darrin Horn is out as the head coach for the South Carolina men's basketball team.
University of South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman made the announcement at a Tuesday afternoon news conference after months of speculation about Horn's future with the program.
The Gamecocks finished the season 10-21 and 2-14 in the SEC. USC finished in last place in the SEC for the second time in six years.
"This was a very difficult decision. Darrin has done a good job in areas in which we place great value," said Hyman. "Under his leadership our academics have improved immensely, he has run a program of integrity and his student-athletes have represented the university and department appropriately. However, we could not overlook other factors that led to this decision. In the world of college athletics, wins and losses and being competitive in the SEC had to be considered."
Horn, who coached four seasons at USC, leaves the school with three years remaining on his contract and is owed $2.4 million in buyout money. Even if he gets a new job the school will still owe Horn that full amount. The money comes from an athletics department reserve fund set aside for situations like this one.
"First and foremost, Iâ??d like to thank Eric Hyman, Dr. Pastides and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity Iâ??ve had as the head menâ??s basketball coach at South Carolina for the past four years," said Horn in a statement released by the school. "I appreciate the Gamecock Nation for its support of the program. My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Columbia and wish nothing but the best for the Gamecocks."
Horn posted an overall record of 60-63 in his four seasons at USC, going 23-41 in Southeastern Conference play.
"You saw what I saw as far as the basketball season was concerned. I didn't go the games with blinders on," said Hyman. "You get to a point in time where you've got to turn the corner and I really don't think we got to where we could turn the corner."
The university says a national search will begin immediately to find Horn's replacement.
"Our goal for our men's basketball program is the same as all of our athletics programs at South Carolina, to be a nationally prominent program that battle for championships," said Hyman.
Hyman indicated he has more "financial flexibility" than he did four years ago when he hired Darrin Horn, leading some to speculate the athletics director could target a major name to help revitalize the program.
No timetable has been given on when a hire will be made.