The Gamecocks have found their replacement for Frank Martin as head basketball coach, with Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris agreeing to a deal, according to a report. After parting ways with Martin after the season finale, South Carolina started its search for a new leader, having discussions with multiple coaches in the process.
Pete Thamel reported that the agreement was for five years. The Gamecocks board still has to approve the contract before the hire becomes official.
The Mocs finished the season 27-8, winning the Southern Conference regular-season title and SoCon conference tournament title. During the NCAA Tournament, they battled with Illinois until falling 54-53 at the end.
There were reports that mentioned Sean Miller was looking at South Carolina at one point, with Furman head coach Bob Richey taking his name out of consideration on Monday afternoon. But, this is usually what happens when you are not getting the job.
Paris has been the head coach at Chattanooga for the past five seasons, finishing his time with the Mocs with an 87-72 overall record. Over the course of the last two seasons, he had turned the program into a contender in the conference. Lamont had previously been an assistant coach at Wisconsin for seven years, before taking the job at Chattanooga, so recruiting at a power-five school should not be a problem for the new Gamecocks head coach.
He has proven he can put together a roster from the transfer portal as well, which is an area the Gamecocks relied on over the previous season. Taking over for Frank Martin will be an interesting task for Paris, especially with how we’ve seen the Gamecocks play over the last few years. Known as a gritty and very physical team, how Paris installs his coaching philosophy will be key with the returning roster.
If there was one thing about the Gamecocks during the tenure of Frank Martin, it was the physicality they played with for forty minutes. But this is a new chapter for South Carolina, one that was likely headed in this direction for much of the season. The biggest question will be how can Paris come into Columbia and rejuvenate the fan base, who experienced a Final Four run during the Martin era.
The SEC will look very different next season pertaining to head coaches, with LSU hiring Murray State head coach Matt McMahon on Monday. It looks as though the head coaching carousel has come to an end, with the hiring of Lamont Paris.