South Carolina was so close to an agreement with Houston’s Tom Herman to make him the Gamecocks’ new coach that the university shut down its search process, but lost him with the team’s November defeat to The Citadel, according to USA Today’s Dan Wolken
“Herman’s mind changed after South Carolina lost to The Citadel on Nov. 21 and it became clear the next coach would have a massive rebuilding job on his hands,” Wolken wrote on Sunday. “Herman decided to stay at Houston for a deal worth nearly $3 million per year and, presumably, wait for a more high-profile situation.”
South Carolina eventually hired Will Muschamp in December, but he was far down on the list of candidates for the university, according to Wolken.
“South Carolina, meanwhile, turned next to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who instead went to Georgia,” Wolken added, “and talked extensively with Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, who turned down an offer he did not view as legitimate, according to people familiar with the process.”
Herman was a sought-after coach following three years as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State and a 13-1 record in his first season as Houston’s head coach. The Cougars finished No. 8 in the final AP Poll, the highest finish for the school since 1979.
The Citadel’s 23-22 win at Williams-Brice Stadium was the school’s first win over South Carolina since 1990 and snapped a 27-game losing streak against FBS opponents.