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The Gamecocks have found their replacement for Frank Martin as head basketball coach, with Lamont Paris of Chattanooga agreeing to a deal. 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.
Gamecocks AD Ray Tanner released a statement on Thursday afternoon on the hiring of Paris.
“Lamont Paris is the right choice to lead our men’s basketball program. When we began this search, I said we wanted to hire someone with a winning coaching history, who has the energy, passion and commitment to excellence in all areas of the student-athlete experience. Coach Paris checks all of those boxes.
“Lamont’s success on the court speaks for itself,” Tanner added.. “He has recruited and developed talent at the highest level, helping Wisconsin reach the Final Four on two occasions, and has taken his experiences under some of the nation’s top coaches to build his own winning program at Chattanooga. Off the court, he is first-class person who will embrace our community and the Gamecock Family. We believe he is one of the bright young coaches in the profession and we are thrilled to have him lead our men’s basketball program.”
The Mocs finished the season 27-8, winning the Southern Conference regular-season title and SoCon tournament title. During the NCAA Tournament, they battled with Illinois but ultimately fell, 54-53.
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.
Paris said in the official release that he was excited to build upon the recent success of the program.
“I am excited to be named the head coach at South Carolina. The opportunity to build on what this program has achieved recently is exciting. While I am the head coach, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the many head and assistant coaches and student-athletes that I have worked with. I want Gamecock fans to know that we will have a program that you will be proud of and one that will compete for championships.”
He has proven he can put together a roster from the transfer portal as well, which is an area the Gamecocks relied on 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. They are known to be a gritty and very physical team, so 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 40 minutes. But this is a new chapter for South Carolina. The biggest question will be how Paris can rejuvenate the fan base, who experienced a Final Four run during the Martin era.
LSU hired Murray State head coach Matt McMahon on Monday, and now with the hiring of Lamont Paris, the SEC head coaching carousel has come to an end.