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Meet Your New Mizzou Basketball Coach: Frank Haith

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Much more detail to come, but since we naturally didn't hire one of the coaches I profiles -- tell me again why I write these things? -- I figure I should start with the basics.

Frank Haith, Former Miami Head Coach

Career Record: 129-101 (all at Miami)

Accomplishments: Named Naismith Coach of the Year finalist in his first year at Miami after leading a team picked last in the ACC to a 7-9 conference record and an NIT bid.  After an extreme setback in Year Three, he led Miami to the second round of the NCAA tournament in Year Four.  Has averaged 20.3 wins per season in the last four years.

Oh, and he's apparently very good from an academics standpoint.  From his U. of Miami bio:

In addition to all of the success Haith's teams have seen on the court at Miami, what could be considered his greatest asset to the program is his emphasis for achievement in the classroom. In his first six years, 20 of 21 players who exhausted eligibility have earned a degree from UM. [Adrian] Thomas -- who enters his sixth season as a Hurricane -- makes 21 Hurricanes under Haith to earn his degree, graduating in 2009. Before wrapping up his collegiate career, Jack McClinton was a two-time ACC All-Academic Team selection, recipient of the 2008-09 Skip Prosser Award given to the ACC's top men's basketball scholar-athlete, recipient of the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award from the ACC for outstanding performance in both athletics and academics and was tapped into Iron Arrow -- the highest honor attainable at the University of Miami.

Mike Alden has very much proven that this sort of thing matters to him in his hiring process.

Before He Was a Head Coach: Say this much for him: he has a diverse background, and he's very experienced.  He was an assistant at Elon (four seasons), Wake Forest (one), UNC-Wilmington (two), Texas A&M (three), Penn State (one), Texas A&M (one more), Wake Forest (four more), and Texas (four) before taking the job at Miami.  According to the Miami bio:

In his 15 seasons as an assistant at the collegiate level, he was a part of programs that won one NIT Championship, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 three times, reached one Elite Eight and one Final Four.

Haith has recruited six McDonald's All-Americans including Rodney Rodgers (1990) to Wake Forest, Jerald Brown (1995) to Texas A&M and Brad Buckman (2002), LaMarcus Aldridge (2004), Daniel Gibson (2004) and Michael Williams (2004) to Texas.

We've said before that recruiting as an assistant is different than recruiting as a head coach, but that's still a more successful record of recruitment than even Cuonzo Martin had as an assistant.

Ties to the Midwest: Four seasons at Texas A&M, four more at Texas.

Ties to Missouri: None that I can tell.

Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job?  Apparently!

Can He Recruit?  Absolutely.  Aside from what he accomplished as an assistant, he has brought a solid amount of talent to Coral Gables.  In eight recruiting seasons, he has brought in 24 players according to the Rivals database: one unrated recruit, one 2-star signee, 13 3-stars, eight 4-stars, and one 5-star.  That's certainly not bad.

This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): SG Bishop Daniels (***, 6'2, 175, Raleigh, NC -- signed with Miami).  There are two players on Miami's offers list who have not committed anywhere yet: SG Kevin Ware (****, 6'4, 167, Conyers, GA -- finalist appear to be Florida, Georgetown, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee) and PF Yvan Ngirabakunzi (***, 6'10, 195, Piney Woods, MS -- Miami appears to be his only offer on record).

He already has two commits for the Class of 2012: SG Chris Bolden (****, 6'3, 195, Norcross, GA) and C Ismaila Dauda (****, 6'9, 215, Boca Raton, FL).

Miami's Ken Pomeroy Stats

For reasons we'll go into in a later post, we'll just focus on Miami's ratings for the last four years.

Miami's Four-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings

UM Offense UM Defense
Tempo 205.3
Efficiency 38.8 70.5
Effective FG% 109.8 67.8
Turnover % 147.0 238.0
Off. Reb. % 56.5
FTA/FGA 134.5
3PA/FGA 110.5
A/FGM 241.5

Statistical Tendencies: Miami's defensive quality correlates quite strongly with the amount of experience on hand, but we'll get into that later too.  Basically, Haith's recent Miami teams have been strong on the offensive glass (they ranked 96th in 2009-10 but have ranked no worse than 58th at any other point in Haith's tenure) and strong in terms of FG% defense.

Offensively, they have been a much more 3-point centric team in the last three seasons, and they have ranked 38th and 54th in Off. eFG% the last two years.  Only once have they ranked outside the Top 50 in terms of Pomeroy's overall Offensive Efficiency measure.

On defense, as mentioned, they hold you to poor shots.  With a less experienced team in 2010-11, they regressed to 108th in eFG%, but they ranked 44th in 2008-09 and 47th in 2007-08 in that category.  In Haith's first three years, Miami committed a ridiculous number of fouls, but they have improved in that regard recently.  They allow you to take a ton of 3's ... and sometimes that's okay, sometimes it's not.  Their biggest weakness has been that they have never been much of a turnovers-oriented defense.  We'll see how much that does or does not continue with the roster he inherits at Mizzou.

Thoughts: Gabe made a decent point this morning:

Haith's record doesn't exactly jump off the page, admittedly. However, he has been doing this at a school where hoops takes a back seat not only to football, but also to spring football, baseball, and just about anything else you can do outside. Leonard Hamilton preceded Haith at Miami and had a career record three games under .500 in ten seasons. He has since moved to Florida State and is 59 games over .500 in his seven years. In other words, Haith hasn't won at Miami, but NOBODY has ever won at Miami.

Lots more info to come.  We'll talk about which of Miami's stats tended to tie closely to experience, what his recruiting ceiling is, what difference an actual home-court advantage might have made for his Miami teams, etc.

For now ... again, he has one specific thing going for him: Mike Alden sought him out (and took a risk knowing this would not be the most amazing PR move), and Mike Alden doesn't make too many bad hires.  Everybody has bad hires in them -- Joe Castiglione took a risk on Jeff Capel that clearly didn't pay off -- but as I said in today's links post, I'm working from the assumption that this is a good hire until proven otherwise.  It's certainly an interesting one.

(And as was mentioned in the Links comments this morning, this is still a much more sensible hire than Gene-Chizik-to-Auburn was.  Not saying Haith will win a title in two years -- among other things, he doesn't have Trooper Taylor on his staff, and Cameron Newton doesn't play basketball -- but initial perceptions of a hire and results are often completely disparate.)