Frank Martin Leaves Kansas State for South Carolina

Tucker PaineContributor IMarch 28, 2012

Martin coaching Kansas State during the NCAA Tournament
Martin coaching Kansas State during the NCAA TournamentJared Wickerham/Getty Images

Kansas State head basketball coach Frank Martin has made the decision to leave Kansas State University and accept head coaching duties at the University of South Carolina, according to a USC press release.

Many have been puzzled by this move, as South Carolina's basketball program has had far less success in recent years than Kansas State.

And Frank Martin had become a hero in Manhattan for turning around the program by leading K-State to its first Elite Eight appearance since 1988.

"This is the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my life," Martin said. "Because when I had to speak to Rodney McGruder, and Jordan Henriquez, and those guys, and tell them that I was making this decision, it was horrible, because I was making a selfish decision."

The Kansas State fan base seemed surprised and confused after the announcement that their head coach was leaving, because K-State was the school where Martin built a solid track record and became respected as a quality basketball coach.

Martin received his first head coaching job at Kansas State and had great success as a Wildcat. His teams never finished worse than fifth in the Big 12 Conference.

"That's a great place," said Martin. "Great people, great fans, and it's the place that gave me my first opportunity ever."

The reasons for Martin's departure have been widely speculated. But most, including myself, have come to the conclusion that Frank Martin and Kansas State AD John Currie had an unavoidable internal disagreement, perhaps fueled by their clashing personalities.

Martin pointed to how much he liked the Athletic Director at South Carolina, Eric Hyman, and his view on the basketball program.

"I couldn't get past the enthusiasm, the desire, that Eric Hyman has for this basketball program to be good again." Martin said. "I get invigorated by a challenge, and getting this basketball program back to where it belongs was just something that I embraced from the first second."

Another likely hitch-up with Kansas State could be that Frank Martin was simply dissatisfied with his paycheck. He only made a base salary of about $1.4 million during his time at Kansas State—an amount far less than other big-time college basketball coaches—who receive a salary from around $2 million to the $3.5 million that Billy Donovan earns at Florida.

The Boston Herald reported that South Carolina will be paying out a base salary of close to $2 million per year, which would put Martin on the same level as most elite college coaches. 

South Carolina finished this year 10-21 overall, and plays in the SEC East.