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SEC Firing Squad Just Means More Coaches Gone – South Carolina’s Frank Martin Is No. 5

The SEC just means more men’s basketball coaches fired, or let go.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin became No. 5 on Monday, according to the school. One of the five – Mississippi State coach Ben Howland – will coach his team in the National Invitation Tournament before stepping aside. Multiple sources repeated to Outkick on Monday what they said on Sunday, which was that Howland will not return next season.

The same sources also said that sitting coaches have been making inquiries about the Mississippi State head coaching job for several days.

Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen has said that Howland will coach in the NIT, but he has not spoken about his status after that.

Martin, 55, had been South Carolina’s coach since the 2012-13 season.

“After a thorough evaluation of our men’s basketball program, we have decided to make a change,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said Monday. “We are grateful for the dedication that coach Martin has made to Gamecock Basketball. We wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Martin failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight time this past season, excluding the 2019-20 season when there was no NCAA Tournament because of COVID-19. South Carolina finished 18-13 overall after losing its first game in the SEC Tournament last week. It was 9-9 in the SEC regular season.

“Our expectation is to compete for Southeastern Conference and national championships,” Tanner said. “We have great facilities, a passionate fan base, and we provide our student-athletes an outstanding experience at South Carolina.”

South Carolina’s only NCAA Tournament under Martin was in in the 2016-17 season when it went 26-11 and 12-6 in the SEC for third place and advanced to the Final Four. The Gamecocks were 6-14 and 4-11 in the 2020-21 season. They were 18-13 and 10-8 in 2019-20, 16-16 and 11-7 in 2018-19 and 17-16 and 7-11 in 2017-18.

Martin coached Kansas State from 2007 through 2012 and reached four NCAA Tournaments.

“We will hire someone with a winning coaching history who has energy, passion and commitment to excellence in all areas of the student-athlete experience,” Tanner said.

The other three SEC coaches let go since last week were Georgia coach Tom Crean on Thursday, Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin on Friday and LSU coach Will Wade on Saturday. Wade was fired after LSU reviewed a Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA last week. The others were fired for wins and losses.

Florida coach Mike White took the Georgia job on Sunday.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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