The South Carolina Gamecocks have picked their new head basketball coach. According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and Pete Thamel on Monday night, Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris has agreed to a five-year deal to be the head coach at South Carolina.
Story with @PeteThamel: Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris has agreed a five-year deal to become South Carolina’s next head coach, sources told ESPN, pending board approval later this week. Guided the Mocs to SoCon regular season and tournament titles this season.https://t.co/KvlHKETYrZ
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 22, 2022
South Carolina and Chattanooga coach Lamont Paris have finalized a five-year deal to make him the school’s next head coach, sources told ESPN on Monday.
The deal still requires the formality of board approval later this week.
Paris, 47, led Chattanooga to a 27-8 record this season (his fifth with the school). The Mocs won the SoCon regular-season and conference tournament titles, resulting in an NCAA Tournament autobid.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 8, 2022
Chattanooga was given a 13-seed and almost shocked 4-seed Illinois in the first round, but came up just short.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 19, 2022
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 19, 2022
Paris will take over for Frank Martin, who was fired last week after 10 seasons with the Gamecocks. Martin’s tenure with South Carolina featured just one NCAA Tournament appearance, but that at least featured a trip to the Final Four. South Carolina went 18-13 (9-9 in SEC play) this season and is currently slots in at No. 100 on Ken Pomeroy’s rankings (the No. 34 defense, but the No. 203 offense).
While he’s spent the last five years in the SoCon, Paris has experience at the major-conference level. He was an assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2010-17 and was a key recruiter there.
Lamont Paris was an assistant at Wisconsin from 2011 to 2017.
He reached the NCAA tournament in each of the seven seasons he was on staff, including two Final Four appearances and a national title game loss to Duke in 2015.
— Mike Gillespie (@MikeABCColumbia) March 21, 2022
The Paris-to-Gamecocks move continues the SEC’s trend of hiring mid-major coaches over the last week. LSU hired Murray State’s Matt McMahon, Florida hired San Francisco’s Todd Golden, Missouri hired Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates (unofficial, but expected), and Mississippi State hired New Mexico State’s Chris Jans. Four of the five coaches made the NCAA Tournament this season (and Cleveland State made it last season).
Here’s a sampling of the Twitter reaction to South Carolina hiring Paris:
Here is Chattanooga's records in Lamont Paris' five seasons leading the Mocs:
10-23 (3-15 SoCon)
27-8 (14-4, SoCon Champs, NCAA Tournament)
Took a very struggling mid-major program and turned it into a conference champion in five seasons
— Cam Gaskins (@CamGaskinsTV) March 21, 2022
Lamont Paris would be a historic hire for @GamecockMBB.
-He would be the first African American head coach of a a major men’s sport.
-He’s a proven winner as a Head Coach.
-He’s worked for Bo Ryan and Greg Gard. Wisc. Does more with less.
-Paris would be a great hire. Period.
— F. Keith Allsep (@KAllsep) March 20, 2022
Lamont took that postgame press conference like a champ on Friday after a hard defeat. Went on and on.
Can obviously recruit very well because he brought in some high level transfers. I’ve heard now three players thank him for taking a risk on them.
His players truly love him.
— Nick Lorensen (@nlorensensports) March 21, 2022
I could not have left the presser in Pittsburgh any more impressed with Lamont Paris. Combined with the success he's had, he was an easy choice as someone to move up the ladder quickly. https://t.co/24T0NEEVeX
— Joey Wagner (@mrwagner25) March 21, 2022
Lamont Paris will end up being South Carolina’s guy. Took a round about way to get there, but really like the hire for the Gamecocks
— Brian Rauf (@brauf33) March 21, 2022
Realistically, the frustration that is being seen with the Lamont Paris hire has more to do with the way the process played out rather than the decision itself, IMO.
— Michael Bohlin (@MBohlinCBS) March 21, 2022
Some South Carolina fans need to get a grip. We’re one of the worst basketball programs in the power 6. Lamont Paris was one of Bo Ryan’s top assistants at Wisconsin (a real basketball program). Complaining about his record at Chattanooga is foolish. They went from 10 wins to 27
— Ryan (@ryan_rcr) March 22, 2022