Breaking news, of the not-so-surprising variety: Kim Anderson has been asked by athletic director Jim Sterk to step down from his position as Missouri head coach at the conclusion of the Tigers’ season. Here is the full statement in full:
University of Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk has asked third-year Tigers’ men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson to step down from his position at the end of the 2016-17 season.
“This decision has been very difficult for me personally because of the tremendous respect I have for Kim,” Sterk said. “I know how hard he and his staff have worked to turn the program around over the last three years, however, the lack of on-court success has resulted in a significant drop in interest surrounding our program, and we could not afford for that to continue another year.
“Kim has represented our program with character, integrity and class while dedicating himself to developing our student-athletes on and off the basketball court, and we are appreciative of his efforts and dedication to Mizzou and the Columbia community,” he added. “Kim will always be a Tiger, and all of us are grateful for his contributions to our University as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach.”
The 18th men’s basketball coach in Mizzou history, Anderson has registered a record of 26-67 at his alma mater and owns a career record of 300-162 heading into this week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. He won his 300th career game with the Tigers’ 72-52 homecourt victory over Vanderbilt, Feb. 11.
The former Big Eight Player of the Year (1977) and two-term assistant coach to Tiger icon Norm Stewart(1982-85, 1991-99) made academic achievement a hallmark of his program with Mizzou’s latest summer (2016) in the classroom netting nine Tigers with session grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher. During the summer of 2015, Mizzou compiled a team GPA of 3.08; the program’s highest term mark in more than five years, and its fall 2016 semester mark (2.61) was also the highest for that term in five years, as well.
“Missouri is a special institution to my family and I, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve as the head coach at my alma mater,” Anderson said. “While we have faced significant challenges over the last three years and been unable to achieve the on-court results everyone would have liked, I do believe we have been able to stabilize the program while watching our players become responsible young men on and off the court.
“I would especially like to thank my staff and players who have worked so hard to turn this program around,” he added. “I’m proud of the growth I’ve seen in our players academically, athletically and socially since their arrival on campus, and feel very good about our efforts to serve Columbia, the University and the State of Missouri through impactful events and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Tigers on the Prowl, Rally for Rhyan and the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital.”
Prior to returning to Mizzou as head coach, Anderson spent 12 highly-successful seasons at the University of Central Missouri, registering a 12-year head coaching record of 274-95 (.743) with seven NCAA Tournament appearances to his credit. In his final season at the Warrensburg, Mo., school, he led the Mules to a 30-5 record and the 2014 NCAA Division II championship. His Mules reached the NCAA Tournament in seven of his last 10 seasons along the sideline, reaching the Final Four three times (2014, 2009 and 2007) and winning six MIAA regular-season titles. Anderson’s teams registered 11 winning seasons with seven, 20-win campaigns.
Anderson also spent three years as the Big 12 Conference’s Assistant Commissioner/Men’s Basketball, directing the officiating program and postseason tournament, and 17 seasons as an assistant coach at Mizzou (1983-85 & 1992-99) and Baylor (1986-91). He and his wife of 39 years, Melissa, have two sons, Ryan, an Assistant Sports Information Director at North Dakota State, and Brett, a 2014 Mizzou graduate and former Tiger men’s basketball graduate assistant.
“Missouri has a rich men’s basketball tradition and the resources necessary to compete at the highest level,” Sterk said. “We expect to compete for Southeastern Conference championships, consistently play in the postseason and continue to represent Mizzou the right way on and off the court.
“A national search will begin immediately to identify and recruit the very best person to lead Mizzou Basketball into the future and we will utilize the services of a search consultant to assist in the identification and evaluation of candidates who are capable of returning our program to national prominence,” he added.
Missouri, the 14th seed in the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament, will face 11th-seeded Auburn in a first-round game at Bridgestone Arena, Wednesday, March 8th, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
"In order to protect the integrity of the search, I will have no further public comments regarding the process or the status of any candidates until the announcement of our next head basketball coach is made," Sterk said.
it comes as a little bit of a surprise that this move took place prior to the season being concluded, but it was obvious where things were headed.
A national search means we will have many coaches to look at and talk about, but for now let’s take a moment to thank Kim Anderson for his hard work over the last three years. He obviously didn’t perform anywhere close to the level he’d hoped, but I don’t think now is the time to pile on about that.
Anderson is a respected player and former Big 8 player of the year, and he wants Mizzou to succeed as much as the rest of us. So thank you, Kim. I’m very sorry it didn’t work out. You’ve always been an outstanding representative for the University of Missouri, and we appreciate the part you played there. Good luck in the future.