Kim Anderson Out As Men’s Basketball Coach At Mizzou After 3 seasons, National Search To Begin Immediately
Kim Anderson will step down as the head coach of the University of Missouri men’s basketball team after this season, as confirmed by the university earlier today. In three seasons, Anderson has amassed a 26-67 record at Mizzou. He will coach the team in this week’s Southeastern Conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
After reports started surfacing on Twitter and around the internet, University of Missouri issued a statement on Anderson’s departure from Director of Athletics Jim Sterk.
“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.
Sterk went on to thank Anderson for his time as head coach. Anderson returned to Mizzou in 2014 to take over the position vacated by Frank Haith. Coach Anderson was coming off winning the Division II National Championship with Central Missouri and being named the NABC UPS Division II Coach of the 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.”
Kim Anderson starred on the court for the Missouri Tigers from 1974-1977, scoring 1,289 points in his career. He led the Big 8 in scoring during the 1976-77 season and was named the conference Player of the Year. He still ranks in the Top 25 all-time for the program in terms of career points scored. Anderson also led a Tiger team that was on the brink of advancing to the Final Four in 1976. Oddly enough, it was an Anderson dunk that might kept Mizzou from advancing.
Rock M Nation recounted an excerpt from Michael Atchison’s book on Missouri basketball in naming Anderson one of the top 100 figures in the history of Mizzou athletics.
The Tigers held the lead when Kim Anderson hurtled down the court on a fast break. He soared toward the rim and got undercut by a defender. In an instinctive effort to keep from falling, Anderson’s lay-up turned into a dunk, as he grabbed the rim for protection. But dunking had been outlawed in NCAA basketball. The officials waved off the hoop and called a technical foul, giving Michigan free throws and the ball, and instantly changing the game. While Michigan capitalized on the controversial call, the Tigers, a 71% free throw shooting team, crumbled at the stripe in the final minutes, and lost three starters when Anderson, Kennedy and Currie fouled out. After thundering into the lead, the Tigers faded into history, 95-88.
Anderson has the rare distinction of being selected in two different NBA drafts. He was selected by the Portland Trailblazers 28th overall in the 1977 draft and by the Milwaukee Bucks 178th overall in the 1978 NBA draft. Anderson couldn’t come to contract terms with Portland and played professionally in Italy for a season. Milwaukee selected Anderson in the next year’s draft, thinking his time in Italy made him draft-eligible again. Portland disagreed and Anderson went on to play 21 games for Portland in the 1978-79 season.
While Anderson served as an assistant to legendary head coach Norm Stewart for 17 seasons at Mizzou during two different stints, Missouri faced criticism from the start for hiring a coach without any Division I head coaching experience. Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou points out that while the lack of Division I experience hurt Anderson, it wasn’t exactly the reason you might think.
Kim Anderson didn’t go from a Division II National champ to a guy that doesn’t know how to run an offense in three years.
Anderson has seemingly had trouble dealing with D-I athletes versus the athletes in his previous position. The program has been marred by an alarmingly high turnover rate during his tenure. One of those players that have left the programs, Jonathan William III, is a major contributor for National Title-contender Gonzaga this season.
The basketball program has also been under NCAA scrutiny almost since the beginning of Anderson’s tenure. The school self-imposed sanctions in January of 2016 and subsequently had more sanctions imposed by the NCAA back in August. Anderson was not told of the investigation, which focused on violations during Haith’s tenure, until after he took the job.
In the statement for the Mizzou Athletic Department, Sterk said a national search for a coach will begin immediately.
Also in the University’s statement, Anderson said he was grateful for the opportunity to coach his alma mater these last three seasons.
“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.”
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