Missouri's search for a new men's basketball coach begins

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 11:59 p.m. CDT; updated 10:19 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 29, 2011

COLUMBIA— The dust has settled. Now it is time to move forward. As abruptly as Mike Anderson left, the preparation for finding a new Missouri men's basketball coach began. 

“This is the face of basketball in the state of Missouri, frankly one of the more visible folks in the entire state," MU Athletics Director Mike Alden said.

Starting list

As soon as Mike Anderson’s era at Missouri was snuffed out, a new spark ignited. Names mentioned as Anderson’s potential replacements include big-time coaches to coaches who can be found right in Missouri’s own backyard.  Here are 15 names, some more likely than others, that might come up in the coach-search speculation.

Paging Mid Majors:

Scott Sutton: Oral Roberts; son of former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton

Cuonzo Martin: Missouri State; former NBA player, played at Purdue, but born in St. Louis

Brad Stevens: Butler; 4-year Bulldogs coach, not likely to be interested

Brian Gregory: Dayton; has taken two teams to the NCAA Tournament in eight seasons as head coach, 171-93 all time

Shaka Smart: VCU;  has his rams deep in the NCAA Tournament in only his second year

Ben Jacobsen: Northern Iowa; has beaten Kansas, two conference titles in five seasons

Bet on a Big-School:

Kevin Stallings: Vanderbilt; Purdue grad started at Illinois State before moving to Vanderbilt, Six NCAA Tournament teams since 1980

Matt Painter: Purdue; led the Boilermakers to five NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet 16’s in seven seasons with the Boilermakers.

Mark Fox: Georgia; was on Missouri athletic director Mike Alden's list of candidates before Missouri hired Anderson in 2006.

Fired, for hire:

Pat Knight — recently dismissed from Texas Tech after three seasons as head coach. Knight played college basketball at Indiana from 1991-95 under his father, Bob Knight.

Bruce Pearl — recently dismissed from Tennessee, and after admitting to officials he had been untruthful with NCAA investigators, worked without a contract. Still faces charges of unethical conduct from the NCAA

Right in our own backyard:

Melvin Watkins: Associate Head coach at Missouri since 2004 (except for brief stint at head coach after Quin Snyder was fired); before that, he coached at Texas A&M for six seasons.

Jon Sunvold: Shooting guard for Missouri from 1979-1983; twice won all-conference, all-district and all-Big Eight Tournament honors as a Tiger, and was All-American in 1983.

Kim Anderson: A junior forward on Norm Stewart’s first Big Eight Conference championship team in 1976. From 1982-2000, Anderson was an assistant coach for the Tigers, has coached Central Missouri men’s basketball teams to five NCAA DII Tournaments in the past six years.

Bob Burchard: currently the men’s basketball coach at Columbia College. The Cougars have advanced to the NAIA Men's National Basketball Championship 14 times during his tenure, including 13 of the past 16 seasons.

Related Links

Related Articles

Behind a press conference table, between visibly emotional players, Alden seemed poised and calm as he mapped out Missouri's initial plans for a coach search. 

A likely first step will be hiring a search firm to aid Alden and his core group of advisors — Executive Director Whit Babcock, Alden's assistant Gary Link, and deputy chancellor and professor of law Michael Middleton — in their search for a coach.

“I’d anticipate that we’re probably going to hire a search firm, a group that’s going to assist us," Alden said. "Really, that helps us not only to develop information but also to help protect the confidentiality of the candidates and other people.”

With a team assembled, the specifics Alden said Missouri will look for involve four characteristics:

  • A focus on academic success.
  • Ability to recruit on a national level.
  • A mentor of good behavior on and off the court.
  • A dedicated work ethic. 

Beyond that, Alden stressed— perhaps because of Anderson's history of entertaining offers from other schools — the next coach must be dedicated to Missouri for a long time.

"We believe that our program at Mizzou has developed and continues to develop to a destination place," Alden said. "This needs to be a place that folks want to be at, and where they want to be for a long time."

The contract extension that was revoked when Anderson received permission to meet with Arkansas was believed to be $2 million annually. That price will not necessarily dictate the grounds of the new coach's paycheck.

“I wouldn’t want to get into specifics about pay,” Alden said.

But Alden did say he expects Missouri to be competitive.

“Certainly we are going to identify the right person with the right fit and be prepared to be competitive with the things we think we need to be doing," he said.

And perhaps most important in the long run, Alden said MU wants to hire a winner who can be successful while still upholding the characteristics believed to be a part of "the Missouri fabric."

"We have to win at a higher level, and we expect to win at a higher level," Alden said. "The person we recruit to come here has to understand that that’s what the expectations are."

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Jerry Parks March 24, 2011 | 1:01 a.m.

Shaka Smart of VCU would be a Great hired! He is young, only 33 years old. He plays 10 to 12 guys a game and presses teams for the whole 40 minutes. A great fit for the talent that MU has.
Arkansas can have Mike Anderson.

(Report Comment)
glenn patterson March 24, 2011 | 8:52 a.m.

johnny dawkins from duke (dont let the whole snyder garbage affect this guy getting considered). he has been an assistant to the best college coach ever, he played and acted like a professional on and off the court as a pro player, he could really show these guys how to play great fundamental basketball. please mr. alden give johnny a shout!!! keep como excited, i gaurantee he gets the fire going in our guys and our community. bring 40 minutes of we'll play better basketball than you to ol mizzou!!!!

(Report Comment)
David Clements March 24, 2011 | 10:10 a.m.

How about Larry Drew? MU alumn from KC, 10 year NBA Player, 17 years as head or assistant coach in NBA. Currently the Hawks coach with a 3-year $5M contract...affordable, loyal, proven...what else could you ask for?

(Report Comment)
don hagan March 24, 2011 | 11:11 a.m.

I really like the style and success of Shaka Smart along with that of Brad Stevens of Butler. I'm sure there are others who could be attracted to Mizzou but those would be my choices over Dawkins and Drew.

(Report Comment)
don hagan March 24, 2011 | 11:15 a.m.

Just to follow up on this thread and my comments, I think it's imperative that we don't wait too long to move on the coach choice in that the 2011 signing date is in April and we will doubtlessly need all the time and recruiting talent we can muster to fill our needs for inside players who like the up-tempo style and can rebound like their hair's on fire!

(Report Comment)
Mike Romines March 24, 2011 | 11:48 a.m.

Mr. Aldon, PLEASE consider:
1 - JOHN PASTNER - Memphis-34 yrs old. Took up to 33 hrs per semester at Arizona where he was Walk On and later assistant to Lute Olson. Also Asst under John Callipari at Memphis. 5 star recruiter. Great work ethic. BS in Family Studies. Grew up in Houston, where father is AAU coach with great contacts. You could double his salary, and keep him many years.
2 - CUONZO MARTIN - MO State - 40 yrs old. Played and was assistant to Gene Keady at Purdue. Played in NBA. DEMANDS defense. Would re-open St Louis (born there) for recruiting as well as Tulsa, Indiana and Illinois. Great recruiter and teacher who would have instant credibility with players and potential recruits.
3 - BRAD STEVENS - Butler - 35 yrs old. GREAT coach, but so-so recruiter. Demands defense and team play. Very very smart guy, with great work ethic. Learned under Thad Motta and Todd Lickliter. Calm and composed. But...wife is an attorney, and Indiana is his home, so.....
Please also consider Larry Drew and John Sundvold, if either are interested, for obvious reasons.

(Report Comment)
glenn patterson March 24, 2011 | 11:59 a.m.

this is alot better thread about our situation here than whats on espn. saw people there bringing up bruce pearl and bobby knight. wouldnt mind knight, but im pretty sure his style is not gonna attract alot of recruits here.

(Report Comment)
Mike Romines March 24, 2011 | 12:22 p.m.

Regards SHAKA SMART - more 40 minutes of self inflected chaos. This gimick works against mid majors or against lack of depth, but not against top quality programs. Turns into layup drill for opponents. Also hard to recruit for that system. The "talent" now on MU roster is only good enough for middle of the pack Big 12. Why worry about keeping mid line talent that can't/won't defend? We need fresh start, not more of same.
Regards JOHN DAWKINS - Can't think of even one Duke assistant under Mike that amounted to anything as a head coach? Lots have had their chances.

(Report Comment)
glenn patterson March 24, 2011 | 12:49 p.m.

if quinn didnt get caught up in his extra curricular activities outside his job, he would probably still be coaching here. i remember he too got to the elite 8 with a young paulding, rush, johnson. i remember during norm and quinn the way the team would get fired up especially against kansas.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 24, 2011 | 1:00 p.m.

"i remember he too got to the elite 8 with a young paulding, rush, johnson"

That was a great team to watch. Paulding is one of all time favorites.

(Report Comment)
Mike Romines March 24, 2011 | 1:05 p.m.

If if and nuts were candy and nuts then we would all have a merry christmas. We can't judge success on "snapshots". Its viewing the entire "movie" that is necessary. And, Quinn's movie belongs on CHILLER.

(Report Comment)
mike golterman March 25, 2011 | 11:15 a.m.

Hire Pelfrey, lets create a real rivalry! I think one of the reasons he took job was he will inheret pelfrey"s top 10 recruiting class. He will be able to keep them and look great in the next couple of years off of pelfreys class. If you bring pelfrey here maybe some of those players transfer here! Anderson couldnt recruit obviously Pelfrey can!! Why not?

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.