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Kim Anderson’s Missouri tenure is officially over ... so now we wait

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

The Kim Anderson era is officially over. We’ll walk through one final Study Hall post later today, but for now, the end means the official beginning of the Mizzou coaching vacancy.

Anderson to receive $650K

On Thursday, we got some details regarding what it will take to end Anderson’s contract (pdf here). He’ll technically remain employed until April 4.

The buyout in Anderson's original contract was his base salary ($300,000) for every year left on his deal if he's fired without cause. By the industry standard, that's a cheap buyout for a major conference college basketball coaching contract. MU and Anderson agreed to a lump sum of $450,000 plus $200,000 for meeting or exceeding the academic accomplishment and social responsibility incentive clause in his contract. Anderson's guaranteed salary at MU was $1.1 million.

He will technically remain employed until April 4, though there are no restrictions on him taking another job of some form.

The agreement does not restrict Anderson — who said on Monday’s SEC teleconference that he would like to eventually take up coaching again — from exploring other opportunities.” It restricts him from filing any “lawsuit, complaint, appeal, grievance or other action with any entity” regarding the duration or ending of his employment.

Standard stuff, it appears.

Sterk likes what he has to sell

Athletic director Jim Sterk talked to the media on Wednesday about the vacancy and his optimism in filling it with a high-caliber coach. I put it to the side because Mizzou beat Auburn and it felt good to focus on that for a day, but he had quite a bit to say.

Whoever lands the job, Sterk believes the Tigers won’t need a long rebuilding process to make the program relevant. Barring offseason attrition, the Tigers return 10 scholarship players and have one signed recruit. Missouri has finished last in the SEC each season under Anderson.

“I’m optimistic,” Sterk said. “I really have enjoyed and loved how these kids have competed this year. They’ve been close in a lot of games. In some respects they’re not far away, but I know that roster needs to be augmented to be competitive and be in the top half of the league and then eventually compete for championships.”

Sterk referenced flailing attendance in his original Sunday statement on firing Anderson, but he clarified that attendance isn’t going to be a primary criteria for hiring someone. That’s good because rising attendance is the effect of a good hire, not the primary driver of whether a hire is good or bad.

Sterk doesn’t think he’s absolutely necessary to make a splashy hire that immediately will draw crowds back to Mizzou Arena.

“That’s an important criteria but not the only one,” he said. “I want to hire the best coach that I feel, in the long term, is going to be successful at Mizzou. Basketball people hopefully will recognize the person that we hire. We want to hire the best basketball candidate that’s committed, that wants to grow this program and compete for championships.”

The hot list, by the way, hasn’t really changed yet. Dave Matter still guesses that Tom Crean and Cuonzo Martin are at the top of the list, and Gabe Dearmond more or less agrees while theorizing that there could still be a surprise or two in store.

One thing worth noting while we wait for more concrete information: Indiana destroyed Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday and will play Wisconsin on Friday. In theory, the 18-14 Hoosiers could still play their way into the NCAA Tournament, which would diminish the odds of the school firing Crean. He could elect to go ahead and leave anyway (a version of “staying ahead of the posse,” if you will), but that would be a bit of a surprise in my opinion. If Indiana wins a couple more games, Crean’s name might be off the board.

Meanwhile, Illinois got destroyed by Michigan yesterday as well, drastically increasing the odds of John Groce getting fired. If Martin is the apple of Sterk’s eye, this could be quite the Braggin’ Rights recruiting battle.

Crean, by the way, vigorously denied interest in the Mizzou job yesterday, but ... well ...

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