COLUMBIA — Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith’s longest-serving assistant, associate head coach Tim Fuller, will take over on an interim basis Friday while Haith serves a five-game NCAA suspension.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Haith was suspended last month for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance during his tenure at the University of Miami, which has been embroiled in a booster scandal centered on convicted felon Nevin Shapiro that touched off a 26-month NCAA investigation.
With Haith barred from contacting Tigers staff or players from Friday through Nov. 25, Fuller, who has been on Haith’s staff all three seasons at Missouri, will oversee day-to-day operations of the program.
“I had three great choices in Dave (Leitao) and Mark (Phelps) along with Tim, but the reason I chose Tim is because Tim’s been here the longest and he was our associate head coach,” Haith said. “Tim has the pulse of me.”
Fuller said he didn’t sleep much Monday night after Haith told him he’d be taking over for those 18 days, but he also doesn’t expect much to change for him until Haith’s return.
“I don’t know how much it really changes day to day,” Fuller said. “Coach Haith gives his assistants a lot of freedom to be almost similar to head coaches in practice. Obviously, I have to continue to do what I’ve always done and then fill the role that he’s leaving void. It’s some big shoes to fill, but I think he’s started to prepare me for this moment pretty good.”
Fuller will coach Missouri against Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Illinois, Hawaii, Gardner-Webb and IUPUI.
At the end of Wednesday’s news conference, Haith announced that senior Tony Criswell had been suspended for the season opener against Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena.
“He is suspended for violation of team rules and hopefully Tony will do what he needs to do to get back on that court for Tuesday’s game,” Haith said.
Criswell, a 6-foot-9 forward from Oklahoma City, averaged 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 games, as a junior.