UPDATE: Rumors of Georgia contract offer to Anderson

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 11:10 a.m. CDT; updated 9:01 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — Officials from both Georgia and MU would not confirm rumors concerning a $2 million-plus contract deal offered to Mike Anderson to coach the Bulldogs next year.

"There's certainly a lot of interest, but he's our coach and we hope to keep him here for a long time," said Chad Moller, spokesman for the MU athletics department.

Tim Hix, Georgia's associate director of sports communications, said he could not confirm or deny that Georgia has offered Anderson a contract. Hix also said he didn't know whether Anderson's agent, Jimmy Sexton, was in Atlanta on Monday, as reported by a television station in Memphis.

Anderson led the Tigers to the most wins in school history with 31, taking the team to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament this year. In his three seasons as Missouri's head coach, the Alabama native holds a record of 65-35. reported this morning that Georgia's offer is more than double what MU pays Anderson, which is currently $850,000 per season.

A spokesman with the Georgia athletics department said he knew nothing of the rumors or a possible contract.

The Bulldogs have struggled recently, going 12-20 this season and 3-13 in Southeastern Conference play. One of those losses came to Missouri in Athens, Ga., by a score of 83-76 on Jan. 3. The Bulldogs fired coach Dennis Felton later that month.

There has also been speculation of another potential offer from Memphis.

At the end of a day full of reflection, Memphis coach John Calipari accepted the coaching job at college basketball blueblood Kentucky. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the deal would make Calipari the highest paid coach in college basketball at more than $5 million a season.

The paper also reported that Anderson's name is near the top of the school's list of candidates.

A Memphis television ran a story Monday reporting that the school had received permission from Missouri to speak with Anderson.

The Memphis athletic department denied that report early Tuesday afternoon.

Lamar Chance, a spokesman for Memphis men's basketball, said that he had no knowledge of the department receiving permission to speak to Anderson, a first step before a contract can be offered.

Chance said that the athletic department would move forward with a search once it knew of Calipari's decision.

Also Tuesday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a story quoting Anderson's agent, Jimmy Sexton, as saying that the report as inaccurate.

"Georgia hasn't offered him the job," Sexton told the Journal-Constitution. "I wish they had. They haven't said the job is his."

As of Tuesday afternoon, Anderson was in his office at Mizzou Arena, Moller said. According to a report by The Kansas City Star, Anderson met with Athletic Director Mike Alden for contract discussions Tuesday morning.

Moller said that he did not know if another meeting between Alden and Anderson was planned but expected discussions to continue. He added that he thinks Anderson will travel to Detroit to attend the NCAA men's Final Four  this weekend.

The athletic department sent out a statement from Alden at 1:40 Tuesday afternoon reiterating Missouri's interest in retaining the coach.

"We know Mike Anderson is a hot commodity in the college basketball coaching world and have been actively working towards a contract extension with him for quite some time," Alden said in the statement. "It’s our full intention to do everything within our power in seeing that Mike Anderson is at the University of Missouri.”

— Missourian reporters Alex Lundy, Matt Schiffman and Alex Ruppenthal contributed to this report.

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Jennifer Gerling March 31, 2009 | 2:57 p.m.

Coach Anderson, please stay! We need you. Thank you for a wonderful season.

(Report Comment)
Mark Cornwell March 31, 2009 | 3:08 p.m.

Don't open the Checkbook for Coach Anderson.
Not today!

All this Anderson talk has gotten out of hand.
You don't break the bank for 1 good (ok great) season.
Listen, I'm a Coach A fan, but his resume is short. This is not Roy Williams, Bobby Huggins, Duke's Coack K. Show me 7 or 8 seasons of Sweet 16's, a final four, a couple of Conference Championships and being ranked in the top 10 then open the checkbook. THAT DAY IS NOT TODAY. 3 above average years at UAB, a couple of questionable years at Mizzou, 17 years as an assistant? That's not the guy you go to the bank for. Prove yourself first Coach A and you'll get the money. If you want to build a program and be paid a salary above what is commensurate for your resume then stay and enjoy and we'll support you, you just want money after 1 year....and it's all about you? We can let him go if that's what he wants.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 31, 2009 | 4:17 p.m.

No University of good standing should be known only for it's great sports programs but people must demand that first it be held accountable for it's great educational programs,qualities and more before it's sports programs.

That is the number one thing that is so backasswards in all of this talk of money and increasing salaries is nobody seems to care that alot of our educational institutions are putting our graduates who often times cannot even completely fill out a simple job application but they sure can throw a football,dribble a basketball or hit a baseball can't they.

Education must come before the sports aspect if any educational institution is to be rated at the top of it's game.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 31, 2009 | 6:45 p.m.

Chuck, your 4:17 pm post is right in principle but unfortunately out of step with much of today's higher education world. There are colleges and universities that deliberately de-emphasize athletics, although most of them have athletics programs at a lesser - and less expensive - level. Interestingly enough we have differences in the four campuses of University of Missouri System.

Teaching and research should not be treated as merely "life support systems" for an athletic department.

(Report Comment)

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