Be honest, once you’d heard that Corey Tate was leaving the staff at his alma mater in order to take a position at St. Louis University, what was your reaction? Mine was of the mildest surprise. I didn’t expect it to happen, but for the longest time I wasn’t sure if the marriage of Corey Tate as Missouri Assistant Coach was a good one. He didn’t come with a deep pedigree of recruiting, just connections to a powerful AAU program, and an outward reputation of being the door opener to St. Louis recruits. But he shunned his alma mater for a job in his hometown, and a contract that Missouri wouldn’t give him, a two year deal.
If you look at the surface, it absolutely makes sense that Travis Ford targeted Corey Tate for a spot on his staff at SLU. Ford is attempting to turn SLU around and bring back the success of just a few short years ago, and a major key to doing that is unlocking the talent in St. Louis, and the talent in the Eagles program. Over the years SLU has had far more success recruiting the Eagles than Missouri has, at least as long as the effort has been there (and you could easily argue Majerus, despite his successes, did not unlock the Eagles).
The impact of the loss
Let’s be quite honest here. Corey Tate brought very little to the program over the past year. His connections to the Eagles players Mizzou had targeted all fizzled out. We were sold on his connection to the talented 2016 St. Louis players like Xavier Sneed and Tyler Cook and others, along with the 2017 players and as of now only Jordan Goodwin still has the Tigers under consideration.
Thanks to all the coaches who took their time out and efforts into recruiting me but this is my top 7 pic.twitter.com/0lLXxv9fC2— JGOOD〽️ (@jGoodwin1123) July 26, 2016
Word is Corey Tate and Jordan Goodwin have developed a good relationship. It’s one of the reasons Mizzou was doing so well in the recruitment of the 4-star guard from Belleville Althoff. More word is that Mizzou was in good shape, until Tate left. Now it’s a little more up in the air. Illinois was long thought to be the favorite with Missouri likely a 2nd or 3rd choice, but with the flip of Tate, SLU is going to play a larger role. Goodwin wants to be close to home, and the closest schools to Belleville are in Columbia, St. Louis and Champaign. For the longest time my sources told me that Michigan State was a big player, but ultimately Goodwin wanted to be closer to home, and it’s because of that I doubt he ends up at Creighton or Alabama. Butler and Northwestern are about four and five hours from Belleville, so they would seem a long shot as well. I’ll still put my money on Illinois, but SLU isn’t out of the picture now, and Mizzou has had a setback.
So outside of Goodwin, Tate wasn’t exactly reeling guys in. And even WITH Tate on the staff, the Tigers weren’t exactly a lock for Goodwin either. I think the impact can be summed up as thus: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Is Missouri better off?
It’s hard to lose an assistant this late in the game and feel good about it, but let’s not pretend like Corey Tate was making a big difference. Without him, Missouri won 9 games, with him they won 10. As I said above, I was never sure about the fit for Tate and Anderson together, and my skepticism was cemented with a conversation with a St. Louis basketball expert who told me this:
Interesting quote form STL hoops source today talking about Tate: said he “wasn’t a Kim Anderson guy” despite being at Mizzou together— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) July 29, 2016
I’d heard it wasn’t a match made in heaven from the start. Kim Anderson wanted a guy who was a grinder, and that’s not Corey Tate. So while I’m sure they didn’t want to be searching for Assistant Coaches in early August, it will at least give Kim Anderson the opportunity to find somebody he feels is a better fit.
So Missouri might be better off. The statement released by Anderson certainly points to no real love loss on the departure. People get hired into positions that aren’t right for them all the time, and Tate left with the opportunity for a position with more security and perhaps a better fit. If Missouri can find a guy that fits what Kim Anderson wants, they will be better off. The question then becomes, can Anderson find that person?
So who’s next?
One of the difficulties of being Kim Anderson, who is the captain of a ship that is taking on water, is attracting somebody to get on board the ship with you. It’s just not an attractive job. There are probably a few guys around who would be willing to take a flier in order to jump to a better position at a bigger school and a bigger paycheck. Exposure to basketball at the SEC level is attractive. The question is just who?
We’ll find more names in the near future I’m sure. I don’t expect Anderson to put off his search despite the weirdness of not really having an Athletic Director to approve the hire, or leaving for Italy for a few days in the next week. I think he’ll specifically target some mid-major assistant coaches who are likely young, and likely a minority. We talked about it the last time Mizzou hired an assistant coach, they needed a coach who was an African American because diversity matters, and players typically like having a coach around who looks like them. I hope this isn’t controversial, because it’s not like black players won’t play for a white coach or anything like that, that’s absurd. It’s just important to have diversity on your staff in this day in age.
Perhaps Hank Foley, the new interim-interim AD, will approve of any hire Kim wants to make. I’d just expect it to happen after the team returns from Italy, but don’t be surprised to see the news of the hire get out before then.