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Missouri men's basketball coach Haith prone to lose clothes during games of struggle

Monday, February 4, 2013 | 9:54 p.m. CST; updated 10:52 p.m. CST, Monday, February 4, 2013
Missouri head coach Frank Haith wears a suit and tie as he watches his team play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina on Jan. 22 at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — There are two sides to Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith.

There is Haith's calm side. He kneels on the sideline watching his players run up and down the court, occasionally directing a bench player to enter the game or signaling for a play.

This is the way Haith usually goes about his job. Business as usual, wearing a stylish suit and tie.

Then there is Haith's other side — a side that has made its appearance during Missouri's struggles in the past weeks. The Tigers are currently 16-5, but have gone 0-3 in Southeastern Conference road games.

Tigers forward Alex Oriakhi calls the other side "real emotional" and "angry."

During halftime, the players usually know what will happen if things haven't been going the team's way. As they walk into the locker room, Haith will remove his jacket, and somewhere during his speech a whiteboard marker will go flying across the room.

Senior forward Laurence Bowers said you have to be alert if you're sitting close to Haith during a passionate halftime speech, just in case markers or a tie gets flung.

In these situations, by the time the Tigers return from the locker room, Haith's jacket and tie are long gone — something television announcers have made note of.

Tigers guard Corey Haith, Frank Haith's son, is no stranger to his father's speeches. He calls his father's fiery side "another person."

"He definitely gets his point through," said Corey Haith, though he said the jacket has never come off while being lectured at home.

Corey Haith said the subject has come up with his family and that his sister Brianna will usually try to do an impersonation of her father. Pam Haith suggests her husband try to be calmer when things are going badly for his team.

Frank Haith said he thinks he is aware of his emotions while coaching. He has had some intense moments, but at the same time, he wants to keep composure to manage the game.

"I'd like to think that I have good balance when it comes to how I communicate with my guys," Frank Haith said. "I never want to embarrass my players. That's not how I coach."

The Tigers players say they respect Frank Haith's intensity. It does a good job of motivating them to play better. However, it's something they do not want to see often, because it usually means they've been playing badly.

Sometimes Haith's heated motivation works. Sometimes it doesn't. When Haith returned to the court after halftime without his tie and jacket Jan. 22 against South Carolina, Missouri overcame a deficit to win 71-65.

Although Missouri rallied, Haith's tieless, jacketless technique did not work in a 73-70 loss to Louisiana State last week.

On a good day, Haith does not remove any articles of clothing. In Missouri's 91-77 win Saturday over Auburn, Haith kept on all of his clothing for the duration of the game.

"I think I'll just take my jacket off at the beginning (of the Texas A&M game), so I don't have to worry about it," Haith said jokingly Monday about Thursday's game at Texas A&M.

Most of the Missouri players say that Haith's ire is something they want to see less.

"We can't keep letting him do that," Bowers said. "He's going to mess around and pop a blood vessel or something."


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