SBD/July 2, 2012/Colleges

Eric Hyman Named Texas A&M AD, Top Priority Will Be Kyle Field Renovation

Eric Hyman "resigned from his position as athletic director at South Carolina on Friday and was named the new athletic director of Texas A&M merely a day later," replacing Bill Byrne, according to David Harris of the BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION EAGLE. Texas A&M VP/Marketing & Communications Jason Cook said that Hyman's deal with the school is "for five years with an option for a two-year extension." He said that Hyman and A&M President R. Bowen Loftin "will sit down to discuss the official number along with an incentives package, which will include both athletic and academic components." Loftin said that Hyman was "chosen from a pool of 25 candidates." That list was then "whittled down to four." Hyman said that the selection advisory committee was "concerned with his Texas background during his interview." Hyman "ran down the list of his connections with the Lone Star State." Hyman was TCU AD "from 1997-2005." But it was the "desire to return closer to his home, closer to his kids and closer to his grandchild -- due in the next few months -- that was the kicker in bringing Hyman from Columbia to College Station." Cook said that A&M "wasn't necessarily looking for somebody with SEC experience," but "getting somebody with it represents a coup." Harris noted with the renovation or rebuilding of Kyle Field "set to begin following the 2013 season, Hyman's toughest task will be raising the necessary funds to turn the stadium into one of the nation's grandest." Hyman said that other than Kyle Field, he is "pleased with the state of the facilities" (BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION EAGLE, 7/1).

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: In Houston, Brent Zwerneman cited sources as saying that Hyman and Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich "were two of the finalists for the job ... with Hyman the top target." Hyman is "expected to make nearly $1 million" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/30). In Dallas, Corbett Smith wrote Hyman's "experience meshes well with the demands expected" as A&M AD. Not only "does he have working knowledge of the SEC, Hyman managed a comparable-sized athletic budget in his time at South Carolina." At TCU and the Univ. of South Carolina, Hyman was "known for his work with facilities and capital improvements." Hyman is "familiar with the process of transitioning into a new conference." He was "instrumental in TCU's moves to Conference USA in 2001 and the Mountain West in 2005" (DALLASNEWS.com, 6/29). In College Station, Robert Cessna wrote Hyman "represents a splash hire that R. Bowen Loftin and company were looking for when Bill Byrne resigned in early May." Byrne did a "great job of building up an entire athletic department." The non-revenue sports "are in the best shape they've ever been." Hyman's job, however, will "be to build up the money makers." And to "make enough money to turn Kyle Field into one of the nation's greatest stadiums" (BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION EAGLE, 6/30).

TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW: In Columbia, Ron Morris wrote the problem the Univ. of South Carolina faces is "finding the weaknesses of Eric Hyman's tenure." He "established a solid foundation for the athletics department that should serve USC well for years to come." His administrative skills "were second to none." He raised money "at record levels." He put his coaches "in position to win." Beyond all that, Hyman "stood up to the old guard by disregarding the general thinking that had permeated the athletics department" (Columbia STATE, 7/1).
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