A source told the Tulsa World on Thursday night that the University of Tulsa will officially announce Friday that Missouri coach Frank Haith has accepted an offer to become the Golden Hurricane’s new head basketball coach.
Haith traveled to Tulsa on Thursday – less than 24 hours after the conclusion of Wednesday’s Mizzou basketball banquet in Columbia – for a meeting with TU President Steadman Upham and athletic director Derrick Gragg. [...]
A source indicated Haith, who recently completed his third season at Missouri, met with Tiger players Thursday afternoon, explaining he was considering the Tulsa job and had a "strong interest" in the position. The same source reported Thursday night that Haith talked with returning members of the Golden Hurricane team.
Haith's tenure at Missouri will forever be defined by two calculated risks. After inheriting a cupboard full of soon-to-expire goods (i.e. a first-year squad loaded with seniors), Haith had the option of either rebuilding with freshmen (and losing big in Year 2) or attempting to quickly even out classes with a mix of freshmen and transfers. He succeeded enough in drawing in talent that expectations were set too high for him to actually reach. He lost six-sevenths of his rotation after Year 1 but still built a squad that got top-10 hype in his second year, and when that squad predictably struggled with chemistry issues, the fanbase began to turn on him a bit. With more pretty significant turnover following Year 2, his third-year squad failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Haith's second calculated risk came today when he decided to leave. With attendance suffering and Mizzou missing the NCAAs for the first time since 2008, he had to know he needed a promising season in 2014-15 to keep his job, and with his top three players leaving (one via graduation, two via draft declaration), he had to know it was going to take his best performance yet to survive. In taking the Tulsa job, he made the decision he felt was best for his future. If he were to get fired next year, he probably wouldn't find a landing spot as solid as Tulsa. From a pure risk management perspective, it makes a lot of sense. But in leaving before trying to prove the haters wrong, you give haters the last word.
So that's that then. Missouri is looking for a new head basketball coach. Long-term, this is probably the best-case scenario for both parties. It was going to be difficult (not impossible, but pretty hard) for Haith to pull Mizzou back into the tournament next year, and the odds were at least decent that Mizzou would be undergoing a search a year from now. The timing here is not optimal, with the late signing period already beginning. But it's also not mid-July or something. Mike Alden will be crafting a list of candidates soon (he probably a list on standby regardless), and we'll start listening to SOURCES.
But more importantly...