Kim Anderson’s firing was made official this weekend, but he’s still technically the coach until the season’s over. That means he had to take part in the SEC basketball teleconference on Monday. And, naturally, he carried himself well.
“I’ve never been through this,” said Anderson, whose team is 7-23 this season and 26-67 the last three years on his watch. “Obviously, it’s a new experience. One thing I would never wish on anybody is to try to coach a team after you knew you weren’t going to be coming back. It’s hard to concentrate on what you’re doing. I actually think we did a good job. My staff did a good job. Certainly Missouri is a special place for me and my family. But you know what, when you don’t win games, you don’t get to stay. That’s the way it goes.
“I understand the decision. Certainly I would have loved to have another year, but in the end it wasn’t my decision. It’s best to accept and move on.”
Sunday, meanwhile, wasn’t when Anderson found out he would not be returning.
Anderson said he and Sterk decided last week to announce he would not be returning after the last game of the regular season.
“One thing I would never wish on anybody is to try to coach a basketball team after you knew that you weren’t going to be coming back,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to concentrate on what you’re doing. I actually think we did a good job. I think my staff did a good job. Certainly Missouri is a special place to me and my family. But you know what, when you don’t win games, you don’t get to stay. That’s the way it goes. I understand the decision.”
If nothing else, Anderson checked a bucket list item (as did many of the old boosters who supported him).
“Everybody has their bucket list and a couple things on my bucket list were to win a national championship and to be the head coach at the University of Missouri,” said Anderson, who led Central Missouri to the 2014 NCAA Division II national title a month before taking the reins at Mizzou. “I would have liked to have done that at the University of Missouri, but I certainly am proud of what we did at Central Missouri and I’ll walk out of here with my head held high because I know that we’ve done some good things here. We just haven’t done enough.”
Anderson said he believes two main goals he was tasked with — “to stabilize the program and bring a culture to this program” — were met and highlighted his roster’s academic success, high character and commitment to community service.
One interesting tidbit at the bottom of that last piece:
Mizzou’s estimated actual average attendance this season was 5,996 for 17 home games, which is the lowest since 1978 (5,948).
If you want a little insight into how big it was that Norm Stewart signed in-state stars Steve Stipanovich and Jon Sundvold, and how big their impact was on the program, there you go. They began in 1979-80 after two straight losing seasons and, apparently, sparse attendance. Everything changed from there.
Anyway, Monday was the time to unleash those hot list pieces so many (including us!) had been sitting on for a few weeks. I shared some yesterday, but Daniel Jones created a list and posted individual candidate profiles of Tom Crean, Cuonzo Martin, Frank Martin, and Lorenzo Romar (who’s apparently going to stay at Washington next season despite a 9-21 record). The Missourian shared its list as well. There will be many more.
Meanwhile, Anderson’s players showed their gratitude.
Thank you for giving me a chance pic.twitter.com/D6qo0RGiXF— Mitchell Smith (@YourboyMitchell) March 6, 2017
Thank you for taking a chance on me pic.twitter.com/OMmdGfHwip— jordan geist (@jordangeist12) March 6, 2017
- Oh right, there’s a basketball game tomorrow night. Mizzou takes on Auburn at 8:30 p.m. CT (SECN) in what might be Kim Anderson’s final game in charge.
- Networking is important.
- Mizzou Baseball has won 10 damn games in a row — its longest winning streak since 2010 — and is up to 26th in the College Baseball Newspaper Top 30. The Tigers will attempt to make it 11 in a row when they host Eastern Illinois at Taylor Stadium this afternoon at 4pm CT (KTGR, SECN+).
- Meanwhile, in a hastily-scheduled affair, Mizzou Softball and Illinois will take each other on at Lindenwood University in St. Charles tomorrow evening.
- Oh hey, Karissa Schweizer won another award. That never happens. (She also won regional honors.)
- Mizzou Men’s Golf charged up from eighth to third in the final round of the Auburn Tiger Invitational. Junior Hayden Buckley and freshman Rory Franssen led the way, tying for 11th overall.
- The NCAA Zone D Diving Championships at Mizzou produced two Tiger NCAA qualifiers: senior Lauren Reedy and sophomore Kyle Goodwin.
- One potentially overlooked item from the weekend: Mizzou Gymnastics posted its third-best score ever! Here’s head coach Shannon Welker afterward.
- Mizzou has a lot of issues at the moment, but ... damn, was hiring R. Bowen Loftin (and then catering to his every need and whim) one of the bigger mistakes the school has made.