LISTEN: MU on Mike Anderson
COLUMBIA, MO (KMOX) — Five seasons after being left in a disarray that was created by former coach Quin Snyder, the Missouri Tigers are losing the man who helped turn around the basketball program. Announcements from Columbia, Missouri and Fayetteville, Arkansas are finally giving official confirmation that Mike Anderson will be the next head coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Tigers players and coach Mike Anderson were seen entering Mizzou Arena on Wednesday night for an emergency team meeting. At 9:00pm, the University of Missouri Athletic Department held a press conference to address the departure of Anderson. Athletic Director Mike Alden was joined by Missouri players Laurence Bowers, Kim English, and Marcus Denmon.
According to Alden, on Tuesday night, Mike Anderson’s agent Jimmy Sexton made the request for permission to speak with the University of Arkansas on behalf of his client. Almost 18 hours later, Mike Anderson informed the University of Missouri that he would be resigning from his head coach position.
After going through the sequence of events over the past two days, Alden spoke about the process of what will happen next for the University of Missouri men’s basketball program. He and a small group will confer with each other before starting an interview process for a new head coach. Alden only mentioned two names in the group, and they were Deputy Chancellor Mark Middleton and Special Assistant to the Athletic Director Gary Link. Alden admitted that it will essentially be the same group that hired Anderson.
Missouri hired Mike Anderson on March 26, 2006, which Alden jokingly remembered at the press conference. Anderson came from the University of Alabama-Birmingham where he had a style of play dubbed ’40 Minutes of Hell’. That style of play won a national championship for Arkansas in 1994, and caught national attention once again when Anderson’s UAB Blazers defeated then #1 seed Kentucky in the second round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. The Blazers actually played in the regional semifinals at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, but lost 100-74 to Kansas.
The exciting play did not take off immediately when Mike Anderson arrived at Missouri, but no one predicted that he would have success as quickly as he did in the 2008-09 season. With five freshman, two transfers, and the last two players remaining from the Quin Snyder era, Anderson led the team to 31-7 record with a Big 12 Tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Regional Finals.
After that very successful season, that is when other universities began to take an interest in Mike Anderson. The University of Georgia was the first school to try to lure Anderson away from the Tigers. That attempt resulted in Anderson receiving his first contract renewal from Missouri. A year later in 2010, the University of Oregon also made attempt to obtain him.
The transition of events in 2011 has been anything but smooth for both Missouri and Arkansas. Rumors that Mike Anderson was already going to be hired by Arkansas began on Saturday evening when bogus reports were made on Twitter. Four days later, the rumor became a reality.
The University of Missouri Board of Curators met for the past two days in Rolla, MO on the campus of Missouri Science & Technology. Reportedly, they were willing to offer Anderson two more years on his current contract, plus bump his salary to $2 million a season. This proposal did not turn out to be enough.
Mike Anderson will sign a 7-year contract in which he will earn about $2.2 million per season with the University of Arkansas. Plus, Arkansas will buy out Anderson’s contract with Missouri for $500,000. A press conference will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Thursday to welcome back Anderson to the Razorbacks after nine years.
Once an assistant for Arkansas from 1985-2002, Anderson worked under coach Nolan Richardson and actually replaced him as an interim head coach at the end of the 2001-02 season. The ties between Anderson and Richardson go back to the University of Tulsa in 1980 when Richardson gave a young Mike Anderson a scholarship to play basketball.
During his time with the Razorbacks, they won three Southwest Conference championships, two Southeastern Conference titles, made three appearances in the Final Four, won a national championship in 1994 and a had second-place finish in 1995.
Since the retirement of legendary coach Norm Stewart in 1999, the University of Missouri will be in pursuit of its third head basketball coach.
Regarding next year’s Missouri team, Justin Safford is the only player currently departing due to graduation. The big question will be if guard Phil Pressey, who would be a true sophomore next season, will return to Missouri. Mike Anderson has a very close relationship with the Pressey family. He played with Flip and Matt’s father, Paul, at the University of Tulsa.
The press conference held by the University of Missouri Athletic Department on Wednesday night:
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