South Carolina approves $26M, 6-year contract extension for basketball coach Lamont Paris

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina board of trustees has approved a new contract extension for men's basketball coach Lamont Paris that will pay him more than $26 million through 2029-30.

The panel signed off on the contract Friday, a few hours before Paris and the 15th-ranked Gamecocks lost to No. 12 Auburn 86-55 in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals.

Paris, 49, will receive $3.75 million — up from $2.3 million this year — for next season with automatic salary increases of $250,000 until he's at $5 million for the final year of the deal in 2029-30.

Paris' buyout should he choose to leave starts at $12.5 million next season and decreases throughout the length of the deal until he would owe the school $1 million should he go during the final year.

“I’ve got a lot of pride in what we’ve done and what we’ve built,” Paris said Thursday after the Gamecocks defeated Arkansas 80-66 in the tournament's second round. "What else was there to do but to make a good deal?”

Paris' contact brings him a hefty raise. His previous five-year deal earned him an average of $2.4 million over the length of the contract. Previous coach Frank Martin, let go in March 2022, made $3.2 million in his final season at South Carolina.

Paris, The Associated Press SEC coach of the year, has led South Carolina to 26 wins, which ties the team record for most victories in a season set in 2017 when the Gamecocks reached their only Final Four.

South Carolina went 11-21 in Paris' debut season a year ago and was picked by the media to finish last in the SEC this past October.

“This was a no-brainer, at least on my part,” Paris said.

South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner had said two years ago that Paris was the right coach to lead the basketball program “and he has proven that to be true. He has the energy, passion, commitment and he is a developer of talent.”

Paris agreed that South Carolina has felt like a perfect fit and he thanked the school's trustees, President Michael D. Amiridis and Tanner.

“Hopefully, we can continue to grow for a long time,” Paris said.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: and