The University of Missouri left no question as to who would be the men’s basketball coach next season.
Athletic Director Mike Alden met privately with top university officials, including the governing Board of Curators, and unanimously agreed Friday that Missouri would retain Quin Snyder as coach.
“Quin Snyder is going to be the coach of this basketball team this year, next year and hopefully for many years to come,” Sam Fleury, the athletic department spokesperson, said .
Snyder, hired in April 1999 to succeed Norm Stewart, has a contract through 2008 that pays him more than $1 million a year.
In Snyder’s five seasons, the Tigers have never finished higher than tied for fifth in the Big 12 Conference. He is also on the verge of finishing with a losing record for the first time in his career.
Speculation about Snyder’s future grew particularly intense after Missouri’s loss at Kansas on Monday. It was the sixth loss in seven games and dropped the Tigers below .500.
After the Kansas game, Snyder admitted he was accountable for the team’s performance but that his job security was the least of his concerns.
“I believe we’ve got the makings of a good team and it hasn’t come as quickly as I would have hoped,” Snyder said. “I wanted this to be an unbelievable year and it hasn’t been playing out like that right now for a lot of reasons.”
Melvin Watkins, Missouri’s associate head coach, expressed similar sentiments after practice Thursday.
“It’s always a difficult time for a coach that’s high energy and that works as hard as Q to not have the kind of season we want to have,” Watkins said. “But the thing about it is we’ve got some young kids who are working hard and sometimes you have to sit back and say, ‘We’re doing the right thing. Let these kids grow and become the type of players they should be.’”
Watkins, who dealt with similar job concerns as he struggled through a winless Big 12 season last year at Texas A&M, has offered support for Snyder.
“I did go through some of those things at A&M and hopefully he’s used some of the insight that I’ve tried to share with him,” Watkins said.
Missouri’s Jimmy McKinney said if the rumors have affected Snyder, he hasn’t seen it.
“I know it’s been really tough on him right now, but the thing about it is he hasn’t been showing it at all and I respect coach for that,” McKinney said.
Missouri reserve Brian Dailey added that, despite the pressure, Snyder has remained intent on helping the Tigers improve.
“Everything he says and everything he does is for our team to get better,” Dailey said. “It’s never for him. Seeing him do that, and seeing his energy, you learn so much.
“He’s the leader of our team, and we’re going to follow him. I think the strength of our team has been our ability to focus on basketball. I’m not going to tell you that we don’t see it. We know what’s being said out there, but we have to focus on basketball when we’re on the court.”