A fond farewell to MU’s Kim Anderson

Tonight will probably be Kim Anderson's last game on the sidelines for the Tigers. Photo: Columbia Daily Tribune

Tonight will probably be Kim Anderson’s last game on the sidelines for the Tigers.
Photo: Columbia Daily Tribune

In what was one of the biggest surprises in early March Madness, the Missouri Tigers somehow managed to beat Auburn University last night in first round action of the SEC Tournament.

I thought for sure that last night would have been Kim Anderson’s final game on the sidelines as the University of Missouri head basketball coach – but some ineptitude on Auburn’s part in dribbling the ball down the court and some improbable 3-point shots that actually went in for a change allowed the Tigers to prolong this train-wreck of a season for another night.

I wasn’t thrilled when Kim was hired to replace Frank Haith. It just didn’t seem like a smart move to me even though he was a much-loved former Mizzou hoopster and had a strong alumni contingent pulling for him to get the coaching opportunity.

Three seasons came and went and basketball at Mizzou has gone from bad to worse.

Kim might have been an okay coach. He might even be a good coach. But as for recruiting, not so much. There are some pretty strong basketball players here in the state of Missouri. Most of them end up going somewhere other than Mizzou. And who can blame them?

The program has been on its heels probably dating back to when they brought in Quinn Snyder. His teams managed to make the tournament quite often but there were multiple off-the-court incidents that led to his departure. Mike Anderson was a tough coach and his teams did well. But there were still underlying problems that led to potential NCAA violations so when his alma mater called, he was gone, leaving a few more potential investigations behind in his wake.

Frank Haith didn’t do the program any favors, either, and he left the program in even greater disrepair.

So Kim had a mess on his hands before a whistle was ever blown. Personally, I think his gruff demeanor and total by-the-rules coaching style didn’t jive too well with the players he inherited – so many of them left. And he couldn’t bring in the caliber of players needed to get the program back on its feet again.

So tonight, (barring another March act of madness) will be Kim’s last hurrah. It was cool seeing him give Terrence Phillips what I thought was a final hug for both of them after Phillips had fouled out.

It’s hard to judge the intangibles of what Kim does behind the scenes. Ultimately, in college sports, it’s all about wins and losses. And for that, Kim now owns the worst three losing seasons in Missouri college history.

The only way the program can go, in theory at least, is up. I’m hoping this next coaching hire is the start.

 

The future looks dim for Kim

Head coach Kim Anderson will now have his name in University of Missouri basketball records as his team set an all-time record … for most losses in a row.

With Florida and Georgia next in line to face the mighty Tigers, odds are very good that Kim’s team should be able to extend that record to at least 15 losses in a row.

Looking a bit further down the line, powerhouse SEC basketball programs Auburn and Mississippi State will be licking their chops to make it 17 in a row and then on comes the SEC tournament where the Tigers are virtually certain to get the bottom seed, all but assuring they’ll finish the 2014-2015 season with the honorable distinction of being the worst basketball team in the history of the mighty Tigers.

Mike Alden, what have you done?

I have nothing against Kim Anderson. He had a stellar career at Mizzou and apparently did quite well coaching at the Division 2 level. When he was appointed head coach at Mizzou, it was hard to argue and he certainly had a mess on his hands to begin his tenure.

Frank Haith went on to greener pastures at the University of Tulsa. I just watched his team hand a beat down to Tulane and they seem to be doing okay. I liked Frank, tainted image and everything that he brought from his Miami U days.

Frank took over for Mike Anderson who returned to coach his beloved Hogs at Arkansas. Again, I liked Mike and he seemed to get a lot out of his players.

Kim, I’m not so sure. Maybe there’s something beyond his calm, courtside demeanor. Maybe he gets his players fired up at practices. Somehow I doubt it.

Even if he does, it certainly doesn’t seem to cross over into Tiger basketball games. I have tried to watch the majority of their games. That in itself is a tough task to do, start to finish. Air balls, balls bounced off of knees, mysterious passes to no one, silly fouls, frustration fouls, turnovers, clanked shot after clanked shot.

This is a young team, full of lots of freshmen and sophomores. They’re just developing their potential is what I hear.

What I see is very little potential.

What I see is a tough recruiting year coming up for the Tigers where Kim will totally fail in sealing the borders and the best talent in this state will take their talents elsewhere. So Kim will resort to signing a few juco transfers and though the current crop of MU Tigers may put on a few pounds in the off-season, they’ll still be who they are and Kim will still be who he is and we’ll be lamenting for a new head coach sometime about mid-December of 2015, saying that Kim has had his chance and it’s time to move on and find someone who can actually turn this program around.

They say that St. Louis is a baseball town. Try as they might, the Rams and the Blues will always be a notch below the Cardinals. (The Rams seem to fall a few more notches on a weekly basis and I’m sure silent Stan is mulling over his next move in the high-stakes NFL team in LA game.)

It’s a similar story at the University of Missouri. When we joined the SEC, Mizzou athletics totally put their focus on football.

Other programs have benefited by the move, no doubt. But cash is king and the king of cash in the NCAA is SEC football.

Basketball is an afterthought.

As a result, the program is in a very sad state of affairs.

And I don’t see it getting any better with Kim Anderson at the helm.

Again, I have nothing against Kim Anderson other than this simple fact.

Mizzou fans deserve better.