The Eric Hyman era in Columbia was nothing else if not interesting, controversial and debated. It also will not just die. Under the guise of giving an “exit interview” to the State paper for some reason, Hyman made sure to rehash all the things about him that folks either loved or hated one last time. Granted, the particular writer at the State who did this “interview” was practically his spin agent for the last few years so who was really surprised but I digress…
So he yearned for and grabbed one more diva-esque moment in the midlands spotlight before going to College Station, sopping up the forum like a biscuit on gravy. Now I don’t begrudge a man like Hyman his large ego. He is a successful person and most successful people have one. So the fact that he talked about himself for a long time to claim that he doesn’t want to talk about himself is not a big deal in and of itself.
What WAS troubling were the lengths at which he went to predict that Ray Tanner would be blaming him for future mistakes like coaching hires. Get over yourself Eric. If you’re out there preening like a rooster to make sure you get credit for good things that happened during your era, then you’re going to get the blame for the bad.
So let’s cut through all that nonsense and get right to what are and always have been the fundamental debate points about Hyman: 1. Was he a masterful AD who created Carolina’s 1st consistently successful sports era, or was he just a good accountant who happened to have the title when the fruits of Mike McGee’s era combined with the infusion of SEC revenues; and 2. Was Hyman’s YES program the only way to do what he was trying to do with the ticket priority at football games, or was there another way that wasn’t as punitive against long-term boosters?
As someone whose family was “pinched” in a big way on question 2, let me say that I side with Hyman. Folks giving Roundhouse dues and getting tons of 50-yard tickets were hurting the program. That had to end and in my opinion. So no matter what the “specifics” were within the program, those folks were not going to like it.
But when it comes to the first question, count me among those who believe that Hyman was just the guy there when all the good broke loose. He clearly has a good business mind and is a great accountant, and no one disagrees with that. And yes, Spurrier and Tanner both said nice things about him while he was AD. Well DUH! He was their boss at the time. What did anyone expect? But was there really a bad way to captain the Spurrier/Tanner/SEC money ship ? I guess a total boob could have messed that up if they worked hard enough at it but come on!!
So hopefully Hyman’s interview with the State and this response are the last we have to say about his era in Columbia. Let this closing statement be delivered and received in the same tone that Mr. Hyman gave the fans all the years he was here: Thanks Eric for whatever good things you did (or didn’t mess up) while at USC. Now shut up and leave!