If Billy has cleaned up his act, he would be a good one no doubt. I do like Anderson but I also am interested in Mark Gottfried or Tim Floyd as well.
With John Pelphrey out at Arkansas, the eyes and ears of the basketball world are now focused on Missouri’s Mike Anderson as his potential replacement.
A quick Googling of “Arkansas” and “Mike Anderson” will turn up results such as these:
Anderson-to-Arkansas speculation begins (from The St. Louis Dispatch)
Anderson addresses Arkansas speculation (from The Columbia Tribune)
Anderson reiterates desire to stay at MU (from The Kansas City Star)
Missou’s coach did indeed talk about the rumors yesterday:
“It seems like this is a road we go down every single year. I’ve already stated, I’m a Missouri Tiger and we’re looking forward to the NCAA Tournament. To me, that continues to confirm that we have a tremendous program here. We do it the right way, we have an opportunity to play on Selection Sunday, or participate in it. Again, it’s something that we seem like we visit every year. It just validates, again, what we’re doing here at the University of Missouri and I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”
When rumors of Anderson to Arkansas surfaced earlier this month, Missouri’s coach said, “I plan on being at Missouri for a long time, retire here.” Indeed, he turned down a Georgia offer of $2.1 million two years ago to remain in Columbia at closer to $1.5 million. He also turned down a richer offer from Oregon, as well.
Asked if he would discuss the rumors with his team, Anderson said: “I talk to our guys all the time. … Our guys know me. That’s where the trust comes in.”
Anderson was a Nolan Richardson assistant for 17 years. He coached at UAB before taking over at Missouri. In five years with the Tigers he has led MU to a record of 111-55 and to three straight NCAA Tournaments.
Is Missouri AD Mike Alden worried about him leaving? “Mike’s always been straight-forward and forthcoming and committed to everything we’re trying to do at Mizzou, and so it doesn’t surprise me that he would come out and talk about his commitment to the program, commitment to the future of what we’re trying to do because that’s who he is as a person.”
ESPN.com reported yesterday that Arkansas will pay top dollar to lure in a top coach. A source told FoxSports.com that Richardson has already given Anderson his blessing to the take the UA job if he wants it.
And last night an Arkansas television anchor tweeted that Richardson would advise Anderson to take the UA job.
However, PowerMizzou.com — the Rivals site for Missouri — claims that Anderson is “NOT the leading candidate.” They suggest that Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M), Buzz Williams (Marquette) and Frank Martin (Kansas State) are all candidates for the UA gig and that all three would accept if offered the job.
Arkansas AD Jeff Long will lead a one-man search for Pelphrey’s replacement, according to Arkansas360.com. Long stated yesterday that “Money is an object. Anyone to say it isn’t would be irresponsible.” However, he then added, “we think we have the resources needed to attract a high-quality coach.”
While Long has revealed any names on his watch list, the site lists Williams, Turgeron, Anderson (of course) and Minnesota’s Tubby Smith as possibilities.
The Hogs are looking to return to national prominence. “I wanted to give John every chance possible,” Long said of Pelphrey’s dismissal. “I had very high hopes John could be successful. I think he could be successful in another situation, but it wasn’t happening here at Arkansas.”
According to NWAOnline.com, Long also cited the “student-athlete experience” as a reason to dismiss his four-year coach. “To me, it all begins with our student-athletes, and part of their experience is winning basketball games. That’s not the only thing… but it’s playing, competing, being a teammate and working within the program. It’s about discipline and accountability. All those things go into the student-athlete experience. Certainly winning is part of that, and it’s an important part. I’m disappointed we’re not in the NCAA Tournament. Our student-athletes are disappointed. That’s where we expect to be, and that’s where we’re going to be.”
Long, however, claimed the ticket sales were not an “overriding” factor in UA’s decision to dump Pelphrey. (Uh, sorry, we don’t buy that one.) “If I believed that we had a coach that would continue to build our program and get us to that level, I would not have arrived at that decision solely based on empty seats at Bud Walton Arena. We focused on what we felt was best for the student-athletes and who we felt could lead our program to the level we want to be at.”
Pelphrey gave a statement to KNWA-TV in Fayetteville last night: “We’ve enjoyed every minute we’ve been here. We’ll stay strong.”