Kim Anderson’s first full day on the job Tuesday as Missouri’s basketball coach was filled with pomp and circumstance, the festive introductory news conference and a lot of shaking hands with well-wishers.
On Wednesday, he got down to brass tacks.
MU announced that associate head coach Tim Fuller would stay with the Tigers and that highly regarded Jakeenan Gant, who committed to the Tigers, won’t ask for a release from his national letter of intent. Both are seen as early victories for the Anderson era.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” Fuller said in a release from MU. “I love Missouri. I appreciate everything about our student-athletes, this state, this school and our fans. This has become my home.”
Central Missouri associate head coach Brad Loos also will join Anderson’s staff.
“We had been speaking about it throughout the process,” Loos said. “After it finally went through, he called me up and said, ‘Now that it’s happened, I want you to come with me.’ ”
Fuller, who arrived at Missouri as an assistant coach on Frank Haith’s staff in 2011-12, has been the Tigers’ associate head coach the last two seasons.
Fuller also served as MU’s interim head coach when Haith was suspended for the first five games last season and was the interim coach again after he decided not to follow Haith to Tulsa.
“After meeting with coach Anderson the last two days and seeing the way he relates to our student-athletes and coaches, I quickly accepted his offer to join his staff at Mizzou,” Fuller said. “This is going to be fun.”
Anderson, who was hired Monday after leading Central Missouri to the NCAA Division II national championship in March, said in the same release that he applauded Fuller’s leadership and how he “kept Mizzou moving forward through practices and recruiting over the last couple weeks.”
“Tim has displayed incredible character and loyalty to Mizzou during the transition and demonstrated from our first meeting his commitment and passion for our student-athletes and Mizzou basketball,” Anderson said. “I look forward to working closely with Tim as we move our program forward and am excited about the future of Tiger basketball.”
Loos was an assistant for all 12 seasons under Anderson with the Mules, including the last five years as the associate head coach.
He had investigated other Division II head-coaching opportunities in recent years and considered staying at in Warrensburg as the Mules’ head coach but opted instead to stay with Anderson.
“He was very supportive either way, and the idea of being at Central Missouri and continuing to coach the players that we have was incredibly enticing,” Loos said. “But at the end of the day, the opportunity to not only be at Missouri, which is an unbelievable opportunity, but to be there with coach Anderson, that was too good to pass up.”
Anderson still must make a decision on two other highly respected holdovers from the Haith era: director of basketball operations Bryan Tibaldi and director of video operations Toby Lane. He’ll also need to add a strength and conditioning coach after Todor Pandov joined Haith at Tulsa.
A source confirmed Wednesday that Gant, who was Mr. Georgia Basketball as a senior last season and signed with the Tigers in November, would honor his commitment.
Gant, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 21 points and 10.5 rebounds at Effingham County High School in Springfield, Ga. He transferred to the School of the Osage in Lake Ozark, Mo., after the season.
Missouri also signed Pacific Hills shooting guard Namon Wright during the early signing period. Anderson spoke with Wright him shortly after he was hired and told 610 Sports in an interview Wednesday that he hoped to sit down with him face-to-face soon.