The people spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the school had not announced the hiring. The university’s board of trustees is scheduled to meet this morning to discuss a contract matter.
Martin will replace Darrin Horn, who was fired two weeks ago after going 60-63 over four seasons. The Gamecocks finished last in the Southeastern Conference this season.
Martin is leaving Kansas State, which he led to the NCAA Tournament four of the past five seasons. The Wildcats reached the regional finals in 2010. His overall record as a head coach is 117-54 and he is 6-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gamecocks have been to the NCAA Tournament just once since 1998. They finished this season 10-21 and 2-14 in the SEC.
South Carolina will be a rebuilding job.
The team’s record got progressively worse during Horn’s four years. Their top player, point guard and two-sport high school star Bruce Ellington, originally promised to only play basketball next season, but after Horn was fired, he started hanging around the football field during spring practice.
Several other players could consider transfers as Martin’s intense coaching style is a stark contrast from Horn’s more laid back approach.
Martin is the son of Cuban immigrants who coached high school basketball in Miami for 15 years and was an assistant at Northeastern for four seasons before Bob Huggins brought him on to his staff at Cincinnati. Martin credits Huggins with jump starting his career, saying the current coach at West Virginia helped him get into college coaching.
Martin has not publicly commented about the South Carolina job or why he might want to leave Kansas State at this time.