Missouri basketball coaching search: Some thoughts about Kim Anderson

The Savitar

Consider this your Saturday live thread. Baseball plays Florida at 11am CT on some regional Fox Sports stations, Softball goes for the series win at Florida at noon (Gametracker here), and Men's Golf will be putting away at the SEC Championship all day.

Almost 4,000 comments yesterday, and the only piece of news we got was "There's a meeting on Monday." Consider me impressed.

So let's start this lovely Saturday with another "What do we know (or at least think we know)?" check.

1. There's a curator meeting on Monday, and it probably has something to do with approving a men's basketball coach's salary offer. (That's not certain, by the way, just probable.)

2. Kim Anderson has most likely interviewed for the job.

3. Others have probably interviewed, but incredibly, we have absolutely no idea who that may be. Somehow. It blows me away that this is the case, but kudos to everybody involved in that regard. I want to shake everybody's hand for that and punch everybody's face.

4. We also know this:

Twitter told us yesterday that Gregg Marshall was at the Jayhawk Invitational in team-neutral clothing, that Louisiana Tech's Mike White is not a name to watch, and that that flight from Philadelphia to Columbia was full of golfers. But it somehow only told us about one person interviewing for the job. As Gabe Dearmond surmised yesterday, perhaps that says good things about Ben Howland's prospects for the job; when "Coach A is leaving for Team B" news begins to leak, it often comes from reporters covering the jilted team. Athletic officials at that school are more likely to have loose lips, and when the players find out via team meeting, news usually slips out. But since Howland doesn't actually have a team or players to tell at the moment, that could certainly keep a lid on things for a little while longer. And this has certainly been an immensely effective lid.

I still expect news to leak out before Monday afternoon. Maybe that's wishful thinking -- I have a damn 1:05 p.m. flight from Columbia to Chicago on Monday, and I would really, really like to know the name before then -- but really, it's just playing the odds. This is an incredibly well-kept secret, but there are still 54 hours to the curator meeting.

Some words, however, about Kim Anderson. We don't know that he is going to be the coach, but in the absence of any other information, a lot of people started to draw conclusions. And his kabuki-esque "No offer, and I'm still the Mules coach" text message was certainly some Division 1-level kabuki. It's exactly what he'd say if he were getting the job and exactly what he'd say if he weren't.

Friday was the day that reality struck a lot of Missouri fans. At least, potential reality. We got a lot of "We're not REALLY going to hire Kim Anderson, are we?" responses at various points on Twitter yesterday, and the reaction to this idea was quite strong and quite negative in certain corners of the Mizzou internet. For the number of fans desperate for Mizzou to finally hire their #TrueSon, there is a huge portion of the base that would assume this move would be settling, or capitulating to influential boosters, or simply taking an undue risk on a guy who hasn't sat on a Division I sideline for more than 15 years. I saw a few "We've just completely given up on basketball, haven't we..." posts as well. If this is a move intended to unite the fanbase in some way, in the short term it would fail miserably.

Here's the deal, though: We would all come around by the beginning of the season, at least on this site. I don't know what the effect would be on ticket sales overall -- for all we know, for every new season ticket buyer who comes aboard because we're "getting back to our roots," there might be another who decides we must have given up on hoops and gives up.

But the odds are very good that Kim Anderson would win a lot of people over in a short amount of time, especially if he hires the right kind of staff. (Retaining Tim Fuller would certainly be a lovely gesture, but there's nothing saying Fuller would want to work for him, and as I've mentioned before, you don't make a specific hire because of short-term recruiting goals.) But Kim Anderson is, by all accounts, a really good guy. And whether being a True Son is a good enough reason to make him a candidate, if he were to get the job, he would say amazingly heartfelt things about this university, and it will make us all feel really good. Norm Stewart will give some incredible interviews, and it will make us all feel really good. The marketing department will almost certainly come up with some strong material, and it will make us all feel really good. Feeling good isn't enough of a reason to think things will work out. But it's still something.

I am absolutely shocked that the Kim Anderson talk has gotten to this point. When I posted a couple of snarky things on the Rock M Twitter account a few days ago...

...I had both evidence and, I thought, logic on my side. And he really might not be the hire; again, part of the reason his name picked up steam yesterday is simply because all of the other names (assuming there ARE other names ... and there almost certainly are) have been kept so tightly under wraps. But if he ends up the guy, and you're totally underwhelmed and discouraged by the hire, know that you'll probably come around. I have done so to some degree, even though I'm still hoping Mizzou goes in a different direction.

Anderson is a wonderful statesman and would be a great representative of the university. He might fail miserably, but that's not certain, and even if it happens, it won't happen for quite a while. Just know that by November, you'll probably be on board no matter what you initial reaction is. A lot of us would like to think that Mizzou can do better than Kim Anderson with this hire, but Mizzou could do a lot worse.

No idea why I felt the need to post this, honestly. We don't even know if he's the guy. I'm still holding out 5% hope for some miracle Gregg Marshall hire, and if Ben Howland's the only other name on the list, I certainly lean Howland to some degree. But of all the reasons I have for putting Anderson down on my list, there are plenty of pluses, too. Let's not lose sight of those. He'll have a chance, and we'll all give him a chance.

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