Was Hiring Kim Anderson The Right Move?
(St. Louis, MO) – National pundits blasted the idea that a Division 2 would even be considered as the next basketball coach at Mizzou. Some said the idea was laughable and that anyone floating that idea was out of touch with what was really going on.
Well, here we are and University of Central Missouri’s Kim Anderson IS the new head man in Columbia. So were the ‘experts’ wrong on the facts but correct on the facts? Is Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden brilliant and leading Tiger basketball ‘back to the future’ or did he make the biggest mistake of his career?
In Anderson he has a proven winner. All Anderson has ever done is win. He was a winner as a high school and collegiate player. He is one of the most decorated Tigers of all time. When he assisted Norm Stewart at Mizzou they won and won big. As the Head Coach of the Mules Anderson took teams to the D2 Final Four three times and finally winning that elusive national championship this past spring.
For good measure his sister Cathy was an all-american in Warrensburg back when the Jennies had to tangle with the likes of Kansas as well as the traditional D2 programs.
But will this ‘lower level’ coach embarrass Alden? Has he reached for nostalgia rather than substance? Only time will tell, but nothing could be as bad as the Quin Snyder era in Boone County, so the low bar has been set pretty low.
Here’s what we know about Anderson. He has been around and influenced winning college basketball programs. He won more than 74% of his games as the head man at UCM and they won six conference titles. While assisting at Missouri the Tigers won over 63% of their games winning two Big Eight titles and advancing to the NCAA tournament six times.
He has played at the highest level of the college game as the co-Big Eight Player of the Year (1977). Anderson played professionally in the NBA and in Europe. He knows first hand what it takes for his future players to play beyond college.
But the question arises, ‘can he recruit and build a program at the elite level of college basketball?’ He spent 17 years as an assistant at the Division 1 level before heading to Central, so he isn’t a novice hoping to get his break into the ‘big time.’
Anderson said the Mizzou job is the only one he really wanted.
But let’s go beyond all of that. Anderson is a man that pays attention to what matters. While in Warrensburg Anderson’s ball boy was a special needs student named David “Chubbs” Steelman. David who has his own youtube video chronicling his basketball exploits at Kirkwood High School (St. Louis), was part of a two year program at UCM.
Anderson and ‘Chubbs’ haven’t seen each other since Kim took the Mizzou job. Recently while in Columbia for a Special Olympics basketball tournament ‘Chubbs’ and his teammates went to a local restaurant called Shiloh when to his surprise, Anderson and his coaching staff showed up.
You would have thought Anderson saw the best man from his wedding. High fives, bear hugs ensued and Anderson wanted to know all about David’s tournament and encouraged him to ‘keep shooting the rock’.
During Alden’s search process, I believed Anderson was the man for the job. Think Bo Ryan or Rick Byrd, but now after watching the genuineness of a man that appreciated his former ball boy like some people are excited to see a long lost relative I was thoroughly convinced.
Anderson has the winning pedigree, the love for Mizzou, knowledge of the game, a history at every level of the game and AUTHENTICITY to get the job done in Columbia.