SEC Basketball: Coaching hot seats should not include Frank Martin


A combination of SEC basketball history and earlier history shows how hard it is to win at South Carolina. Going way back, the Gamecocks were coached by the legendary Frank McGuire. Before going to South Carolina, McGuire won almost 74% of his games at both St. John’s and North Carolina. His 1957 Tar Heels team was the National Champion.

His last 16 coaching seasons were at South Carolina, where his teams won 66.6% of their games in the ACC and later as an Independent. McGuire’s 1971 Gamecocks team won the ACC Tournament. That season and the three that followed they made the Big Dance. After their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 1974, in six more McGuire-led seasons, they never won 20 games and slid to double-digit losses in the last three seasons.

That era was the high point for South Carolina Basketball. After a strong run of success at Wake Forest, Dave Odom was hired to revive South Carolina basketball. In seven seasons, Odom had the Gamecocks in the NCAA Tournament once. In each of his last two seasons in Columbia, his teams won just 14 games.

Following Darrin Horn, Frank Martin is in his 10th season at South Carolina. His 2017 team made it to the Final Four. The Gamecocks have not done much since. Last year Martin battled COVID twice. His team slumped to 6-15. He was given a short contract extension, apparently somewhat motivated by South Carolina relieving itself of a $6.5M buyout if he is fired after the 2023 season.

Frank Martin is a good coach and South Carolina is fortunate to have him. This week, Nate Oats spoke about South Carolina and Frank Martin teams.

"Pretty much anything tough in the game of basketball, a Frank Martin-coached team is gonna be really good at. That’s where South Carolina is at. Rebounding, turning you over, guarding you, being physical, they’re good at all that stuff."

Many SEC basketball fans may define what Oats said as coach-speak. It wasn’t. It was a tribute to a man that may not often have the best players, but will almost always have a team that will outwork opponents. That makes South Carolina a dangerous foe for the Crimson Tide.

SEC basketball hot seats will likely lead to the firing at the end of the season of Georgia’s Tom Crean and Mississippi State’s Ben Howland. Neither Mike White at Florida or Cuonzo Martin at Missouri are secure. South Carolina should hold on to Frank Martin as long as it can.

Next. Tide vs. Gamecocks Odds and Prediction. dark

If, and it is a big IF, the Crimson Tide does not beat itself, the Tide should win over South Carolina. If it plays as it did in Nashville, a tight game could go either way.