UPDATED (Sunday at 7:27 p.m.) : ABC 17 has compiled a list of coaching candidates mentioned in local or national reports. That list can be found near the end of this story.
Mizzou Athletics announced Kim Anderson will step down as Mizzou Men’s Basketball coach at the end of the 2016-2017 season. Athletic Director Jim Sterk said he asked Anderson to leave his post after the season.
“This decision has been very difficult for me personally because of the tremendous respect I have for Kim,” Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk said in a statement. “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. Anderson had been with the program for the previous three seasons. He owns a 26-67 record as Mizzou head coach. His .289 winning percentage is the lowest in program history among full-time coaches. “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,” Kim Anderson said in a statement. “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,” Anderson 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.” Anderson’s last home game as Mizzou head coach was a 60-43. Mizzou’s 43 points against Texas A&M on February 28 was the lowest output by a Tiger team in the history of Mizzou Arena. MU closed the regular season with a 89-78 loss to Auburn. “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,” Sterk added in his statement. The Kim Anderson Era has been plagued by losing seasons, player turnover, self-imposed sanctions from NCAA violations under former coach Frank Haith. 13 players transferred out of the program since Anderson took over in 2014. Two of those departures (Wes Clark and Torren Jones) were dismissed by Anderson. Anderson dealt with difficult circumstances when he took the Missouri job. In 2015, the program punished itself for NCAA recruiting violations, which occurred under Frank Haith’s tenure at Mizzou. The school’s report on the investigation stated two boosters gave impermissible benefits to Mizzou players and recruits. Mizzou Athletics disassociated itself with the two boosters and the school placed itself on probation and banned itself from the 2016 NCAA postseason. It also vacated wins from the 2013-2014 season and stripped itself of one scholarship. Anderson said he was not told of the NCAA investigation before he accepted the job in 2014. The former Mizzou player thrived under legendary coach Norm Stewart from 1973-1977. He also served under Stewart from 1982-1985, and again from 1991-1999 when Stewart retired from Missouri. Anderson’s most successful tenure in his coaching career came at Central Missouri. He led the Mules from 2002-2014, winning the Division II national title after his team beat West Liberty. Soon after, he accepted the Mizzou Men’s Basketball job after Frank Haith left for Tulsa. Mizzou will face Auburn in the SEC Tournament on March 8 in Nashville. Game time is approximately 8:30 pm. Sterk stated Mizzou will begin a nationwide search for a new men’s basketball coach. Sterk said he will use a search firm to assist him with this hire. Here are a few names Mizzou may target that have been mentioned by local and national reports as well as ABC 17 sources. – South Carolina’s Frank Martin – Washington’s Lorenzo Romar – Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood – California’s Cuonzo Martin – St. Louis University’s Travis Ford – VCU’s Will Wade – Indiana’s Tom Crean ABC 17’s Austin Kim also inquired about Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams. But a source tells ABC 17 that Williams “will not take the job,” citing Williams’ $3 million salary next season, his unwillingness to take on another rebuild job and his desire to keep his kids in the same high school for four years.