Weird Ties, Back-Stories & Connections with MU BB Coaching Candidates

Doug Pensinger

In the following video you will see a rare public gathering of the Kroenke's, Lauries, and Walton's. The back-stories and connections will begin there.

The woman cutting the ribbon is Bill Laurie & Stan Kroenke's mother-in-law, Audrey Walton (affectionately known as Audie). Audie is the former wife & widow of Bud Walton, Sam Walton's brother & partner in what would become the Walmart empire. Everyone thinks of Sam & Bud as Northwest Arkansas guys, and they were at the height of their wealth and the end of their lives. But for many years they were in CoMo, and were heavily influenced there. Before they both ended up at Mizzou, Sam & fellow famous alum, Norm Stewart lived in tiny Shelby County. Years later, the success of Sam's family wealth and Norm's success at the institution would clash with Norm's (ahem) departure.

Sam's brother, Bud, was actually born in Columbia, and later attended nearby Wentworth Military Academy. As Sam & Bud worked together to scout potential retail operations they could eventually buy, Bud settled in the small Missouri town of Versailles, where he opened his first store. Bud & Audie had two daughters, Ann & Nancy. Now biographers say that Nancy & her husband, Bill Laurie met in college at Memphis State. But I will tell you that they first met in high school in Versailles, where Bill & his younger brother, Barry (remember Barry?), were small town basketball standouts. Ann's husband, Stan Kroenke (heard of him?) went to high school less than 20 miles away at Cole Camp, and later attended Mizzou. Another Versailles resident was named Jerry Hughes. Jerry was the athletic director at Versailles when Barry was in his heyday. Jerry's family was prominent in local business in Versailles at the time and there were close ties with both the Laurie family and the Bud Walton family. Bud would later move to NW Arkansas, but Audie remained in the Versailles area and stayed close friends with Jerry Hughes, who became the long time (and still current AD at the University of Central Missouri).

Now the University in Warrensburg (either UCM or CMSU depending how old you are) has a long & storied history of giving successful D1 coaches a place to hone their skills. The most prominent (but infamous) would be Phog Allen (booooooo). But others included lesser & more decorated names such as Tom Scott (North Carolina), Gene Bartow (UCLA & UAB), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Lynn Nance (Iowa St & Washington), and Jim Wooldridge (Kansas St). UCM also had Bob Sundvold as head coach, with his obvious MU connections - but I hesitate to include him in the above list for obvious reasons.

Of course we all know that Jerry hired MU great & former assistant, Kim Anderson. But Jerry also hired Jim Wooldridge, who later got the K-St job after impressing the great Tex Winter (former K-St legend) on a coaching gig they had together in Chicago. They were both helping Wooldridges' former college teammate & roommate with an overwhelming coaching task - following a guy named Jordan. So yes, Wooldridge was a close teammate & coaching colleague with now MU hot list candidate, Tim Floyd.

Now Kim Anderson has loved CoMo area since birth He was raised in Sedalia (exactly in between Versailles & Warrensburg and close to Columbia) and his MU careers are well documented. He has said on multiple multiple occasions that he loved coaching near his family (parents still in Sedalia & sister working at UCM) and was not interested in bigger positions outside of the area. Would MU be the only place he would consider outside of Warrensburg, even after being passed over previously? Interesting question. To me, the best scenario would be him getting the respect of being considered a serious MU candidate again, but then pulling him name out stating family as the reason.

Where is Gregg Marshall's or Ben Howland's weird tie or connection in all this? There isn't one. That's my point. They are as much unconnected to any of this as Frank Haith, Quin Snyder, and Mike Anderson were. Hiring someone with absolutely no cosmic ties to any of these 6 degrees of separation hasn't worked so far either.

So, using this type of unscientific method, the only uniquely qualified candidate who has a tiny connection here, but doesn't have the real close ties that half the crowd hates (Kim Anderson), but also isn't a total outsider who could bolt at any moment (MA, FH, and I believe Gregg Marshall if a mega job comes calling) is Tim Floyd. So I'm going to officially start rooting for Tim Floyd, with Fuller remaining on the staff...just because I think this is the only choice to correct the bad cosmic karma we've experienced since the whole Norm Stewart conflict started.

Hope you found at least one interesting thing you didn't know before.

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