Despite all the negative connotations associated with the NCAA’s investigation, the Missouri men’s basketball coaching staff can say it benefited from its effects.
The Tigers announced Thursday the hiring of former Liberty coach Jeff Meyer to take the position Lane Odom held. Meyer, along with newly hired associate head coach Melvin Watkins, combine for 24 years of head coaching experience. Meyer’s hiring completes the program’s coaching search.
“I think we all benefit from it,” coach Quin Snyder said. “When you put a team together, you try to find people that complement each other very well. The people that we have assembled right now, I think, the experience they have, both coaching and teaching, and their experience in the profession is going to be a tremendous asset.
“Not just to our players, but I think (assistant coach) Marcus Perez is excited to work with Jeff and Melvin. It transcends your team. That experience is something I was conscious of, and I thought would be a benefit to us.”
Odom resigned May 11 after the NCAA released its findings of the investigation of Missouri. The Tigers hired Watkins on Monday to replace Tony Harvey, who resigned June 18.
Meyer spent 16 seasons at Liberty, compiling a 259-206 record, and Watkins coached for two seasons at Charlotte and two at Texas A&M.
John Hammond, with whom Snyder worked while with the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992, recommended Meyer to Snyder.
Snyder’s first encounter with Meyer, 50, came when Winthrop played Missouri on Jan 4, 2000, during Meyer’s second season as the associate head coach with the Eagles.
“I recall that game maybe too well,” Snyder said. “Before the game, John Hammond and Jeff go back quite a few years, and John had mentioned to me, ‘I know one of the guys on the staff. They’re going to be well coached.’ Obviously, they were. I think we both agree that was a pretty ugly game.”
After Winthrop’s surprising 51-46 victory in Columbia, Meyer had left his mark on Snyder.
“When (Hammond) called me and talked to me about Jeff, I listened,” Snyder said. “From that point, I didn’t refer to the Winthrop game as much as I did a lot other things. I think Jeff’s record speaks for itself.”
Meyer said he knew Hammond from when they were undergraduates at Taylor (Ind.) University, which Meyer graduated from in 1976. Meyer earned a master’s of science degree from Purdue University in 1980.
Winthrop went 60-28 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament three times during Meyer’s three seasons. Before the 2001-02 season, Meyer moved to Butler to take an assistant coaching position and helped the Bulldogs to some success as well.
With Meyer on the bench, the Bulldogs were 69-26, winning the Horizon League in 2002 and 2003. In addition, 12 of 13 players who completed their eligibility at Butler graduated.
“I share his mission of representing the University of Missouri with excellence and integrity; I certainly share (Snyder’s) vision,” Meyer said. “We’re going to graduate kids, We’re going to compete for championships. The foundation, in my mind, is in place.”