Anderson agrees to new contract at Missouri

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 8:39 p.m. CDT; updated 9:01 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 2, 2009
Missouri head coach Mike Anderson passes the ball during practice Thursday as the Tigers prepare to face Cornell on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Boise, Idaho.

COLUMBIA — Missouri men's basketball coach Mike Anderson isn't going anywhere, and it doesn't sound like he wanted to according to MU Chancellor Brady Deaton.

Three days after his team lost to Connecticut in the Elite Eight, Anderson has agreed to a new seven-year contract, according to a news release from the Missouri Athletic Department sent Tuesday evening.

The release said financial details of the deal will be released upon completion of the contract, but a report on the Kansas City Star's Web site says the contract will pay him $1.55 million guaranteed per year with incentives that could raise his salary to more than $2.2 million. Anderson's previous contract paid him a base salary of $850,000 per year.

Deaton, reached by phone late Tuesday night, said Anderson made it clear over the past few days that he wanted to remain at Missouri.

“We’ve had many conversations over the last month and the last few days, and he certainly expressed a desire to be here at the University of Missouri, and he’s done that all along,” Deaton said.

Deaton said he talked to Anderson on Tuesday after the agreement was made. Deaton described Anderson’s mood during the talk as “very positive, very excited about the future here at the University of Missouri.”

"I do want everyone to know how much we value him, and I told him that," Deaton said.

The Kansas City Star's report says Missouri curator Don Walsworth said Anderson's new guaranteed yearly pay will be $1.35 million, but a deferred pay package of $200,000 each season brings the yearly guarantee to $1.55 million. Incentives could push the total past $2 million. The UM System Board of Curators still needs to approve the contract.

“We are excited Coach Anderson is going to be at the University of Missouri for a long time,” Mike Alden, MU's director of athletics, said in Tuesday's release. “He’s done a tremendous job rebuilding our basketball tradition and is poised to lead our program to new heights in the coming years.”

Alden hired Anderson from Alabama-Birmingham in 2006 to replace Quin Snyder, a former Duke assistant, who earned a base salary of $1.015 million with the Tigers.

“We have always appreciated the commitment Mike Alden and his staff have had towards Missouri Basketball and I am excited to remain here at Missouri,” Anderson said in the release. “We are looking forward to the future of this program and can’t wait to continue building on the success of this past season.”

Anderson was unavailable for further comment and MU officials said he will be leaving soon to watch the Final Four in Detroit, which begins on Saturday.

Word of the agreement comes after several days of speculation about Anderson's future at Missouri.

Even before the Tigers' Elite Eight game took place, Anderson, a former assistant coach in the SEC at Arkansas, was mentioned as a top candidate for openings at Alabama and Georgia. Alabama hired a new coach Friday, but that same day, Kentucky fired coach Billy Gillispie and Anderson's name briefly came up as a replacement there.

Before it became official late Tuesday afternoon that John Calipari was leaving Memphis for Kentucky, Anderson became one of the top candidates to replace Calipari.

“The qualities that we saw in coach Anderson, other universities saw those qualities in him,” Deaton said.

This season, Anderson led the Missouri to a school-record 31 wins, including a regular season victory at Georgia and an NCAA tournament win over Memphis. Seven newcomers recruited by Anderson and his staff helped the team reach its first Elite Eight since 2002. In his three seasons as Missouri's head coach, the Alabama native holds a record of 65-35.

Tuesday morning ESPN reported that Anderson had traveled to Georgia and was offered a contract worth more than $2 million per year. Later, Anderson's agent, Jimmy Sexton, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the report was "absolutely inaccurate."

Still, Walsworth mentioned the offer in comments to The Associated Press about Anderson.

"We hired a coach who probably left $700,000 on the table," Walsworth said. "We have a proven coach who has appeal to the citizens of Missouri. He's all about honesty and integrity."

Walsworth also told the Star that after MU and Anderson agreed to the new contract, a query came from Memphis about talking to Anderson.

Missourian reporters Alex Ruppenthal, Luke Thompson, Alex Lundy, Matt Schiffman and Robby Lewis contributed to this report.

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Brian Heffernan March 31, 2009 | 9:56 p.m.

I am so appreciative that Anderson chose integrity over money. Leaving the program now before entering his first season at Mizzou with a full four years of Anderson-style players would have destroyed the program here. He had players transfer schools to play here for him. He owed it to them to stay. Class act, that Anderson.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 10:05 p.m.

[Anderson has agreed to a new seven-year contract, according to a press release from the Missouri Athletic Department Tuesday evening. The release said financial details of the deal will be released upon completion of the contract.]
I'm confused. I just read, in the Farmer's Almanac, that the contract was canceled due to an early spring equinox.

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