March 9th, 2012 01:28 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: South Carolina
Tags: Cockaboose Railroad, Metro Conference, No Carolina, SEC
South Carolina just finished 2-14 in the SEC (2-15 if you count yesterday’s tournament loss). No Carolina hoops squad had finished league play with just two wins since doing so in the old Metro Conference back in 1985-86.
The Cocks experienced just the fourth 20-loss season in school history. They tied the school record for losses with 21.
Attendance is down and that means ticket, parking and concession revenues are all down, too.
Can Horn survive all that? It’s been quiet on the Horn front the past couple of weeks, but two sources in Columbia have told us this week that talk of the coach being ousted has heated up this week. Athletic director Eric Hyman is believed to like the young coach and — we’re told — he does believe Horn is putting the Cocks on the right track. (Not unlike the Cockaboose Railroad.)
All that may be true. But revenue is King. And fan apathy can kill revenue which can kill a program.
For his part, Horn said last night that he’s ready to keep right on buildin’:
“Yeah, my thing right now is that we’re committed to building our program. That’s going to start with, now that our season’s over, hitting the recruiting trail immediately as the rules allow, and we’ll sit down and it’s customary at the end of the seasons and visit.
But we’re going to keep plugging forward and keep doing what we have been doing to be committed to building our program. And again, I think when you look at some of the guys that stepped up and played really well — that’s a NCAA Tournament team that we lost to just now — and we’re on the floor with a bunch of young guys that are only going to get better and smarter and stronger and all of those things. So we think there’s some positive things going on from that aspect.”
As we said earlier this week, we don’t think USC — if it’s going to can Horn — will wait until April 1st to do so. At that point, his buyout drops about three-quarters of a million dollars. Considering the money coming in from television these days, that’s chump change.
If Carolina’s going to make a move, we believe it will do so in the next few days rather than allow schools from across the country to get their own coaching searches underway and put to bed before the Cocks can even start theirs.
So if money and timing aren’t issues, it all comes down to whether or not Hyman truly believes the young talent Horn has put together can start to gain ground in the expanded SEC next season. And he’ll have to make that guess without knowing for sure what the league’s basketball schedule will look like. If Carolina no longer has to face Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida twice each per season, the slate might be considerably easier moving forward.
If a move isn’t made by Monday, we think Horn will return to Columbia for Year Five. Carolina’s board of trustees has already backed Horn, so this one’s all on Hyman.
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