South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman has left after seven years to guide Texas A&M's transition into the Southeastern Conference as the Aggies' new AD.
The 61-year-old Hyman said Friday he looked forward to leading his new school in its transition from the Big 12 Conference into the SEC. Hyman will take over for Texas A&M's Bill Byrne, who retired in May.
Texas A&M is officially joining the SEC on Sunday.
"I am very excited for the opportunity to help transition Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference," he said. "While this is a tremendous opportunity, the downside is leaving all the dedicated and loyal fans in Gamecock Nation and the best athletic department in the country."
Hyman played a big role in the Gamecocks' unprecedented athletic success during his tenure. The baseball team under coach Ray Tanner won two national titles and played for a third before falling to Arizona at the College World Series earlier this month.
Steve Spurrier's football team reached its first SEC championship game in 2010, then won a program-record 11 games last fall.
Dawn Staley's women's basketball team made the NCAA's round of 16 in its first tournament appearance in nine years.
In one Hyman's final personnel moves, he lured successful Kansas State coach Frank Martin last March to revitalize a last-place basketball team.
Even when Hyman's athletic program made mistakes, he led the department back on top. The NCAA uncovered three major violations including failure to monitor the department because of violations in the football and track programs. However, the NCAA in handing down its final decision complemented Gamecock administrators for the thorough and above-board approach they took during the inquiry.
"They wanted to ask all the hard questions of all the right people," NCAA committee on infractions chairman Britton Banowsky said. "Even went beyond what the NCAA staff was doing. We see that less likely than we see the other approach."
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides thanked Hyman for his efforts and wished him well after the resignation became official.
"We will miss him on our team, but his legacy has made us stronger," Pastides said.
Hyman has overseen a revamping of Gamecock athletic facilities. He finished a $35.6 million Carolina Stadium baseball field that has helped that team's national rise. Williams-Brice Stadium, where the football team plays, has had massive upgrades, and a $6.5 million video board is currently being installed in time for this fall. A $30 million tailgate area in what was formerly the state Farmer's Market across the street will also be finished by football season.
One of the first new buildings was a $13 million Academic Enrichment Center, known as "The Dodie," which has done its job. South Carolina athletes posted their highest fall GPA (3.202) ever in 2011 and all 19 of the programs countable sports achieving multi-year scores or 950 or better in the NCAA's latest Academic Progress Reports (APR).
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