With rumors swirling for several days, the school made it official Friday that Gamecocks baseball head coach Ray Tanner would become the new athletics director.
Since the Gamecocks' return from Omaha and the late-June announcement of former AD Eric Hyman's move to Texas A&M, the focused turned toward Tanner.
The announcement was made official via Twitter a few minutes before the press conference was set to begin at 2 p.m.
University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides made the official announcement before a crowded audience following the board of trustees official confirmation of Tanner as AD. He will take charge effective Aug. 2.
An emotional Tanner said he was, "honored and humbled to become athletics director of this great university." He went on to thank Hyman and his work while serving as former AD, but also said he hopes to console him when the Gamecocks face the Aggies on game days.
"Sometimes you can search the world over for the perfect candidate and at times you know you have the right leader within your organization," said Pastides. "For USC, we knew we had the right person on our team already. When Coach Tanner approached me two years ago and sought more administrative responsibilities, I clearly knew that this was an individual who was seeking a way to lead, to take our great university to the next level."
As AD, Tanner signed a five-year contract worth $675,000 a year. Tanner said he really wanted the job and repeatedly let Pastides know he was interested.
When asked what the biggest adjustment will be in the move to AD, Tanner joked, that the biggest challenge may be putting on "that neck tie" from time to time.
This is not Tanner's first foray into the world of administration. He was a former assistant AD at North Carolina State while serving as the Wolfpack's baseball coach.
Tanner won the College World Series in 2010 and 2011 and served as the team's head coach for 16 years. Additionally, Tanner led the Gamecocks to a pair of national runner-up finishes, six College World Series appearances, three SEC championships, six SEC Eastern division titles, an SEC tournament crown and 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
He said Friday that he was at a point in his career where he loved it more than he had previously and wanted to get out of coaching while it was still great, before it was too late.
The baseball coach position is expected to be filled by Tanner's top assistant, Chad Holbrook. The official announcement is scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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