Kim Anderson isn’t alone in being passed up for a head coaching job by his alma mater. Anderson’s former Missouri teammate, Bill Flamack, draws a comparison with Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan.
Ryan was an assistant coach with the Badgers for eight seasons from 1976-84 Those were dark days — Wisconsin was 79-141 overall and 39-105 in the Big Ten. But in 1984, Ryan moved on to what would become a storied Division III career at Wisconsin-Platteville, where he won four national championships.
During the next 17 years, Wisconsin passed on bringing back Ryan three times. He interviewed for the job twice but was passed over for Stu Jackson in 1992 and for Dick Bennett three years later.
In between, Stan Van Gundy was promoted off Jackson’s staff for a forgettable 13-14 season in 1994-95.
When Ryan finally got the job in 2001 at age 53, following a two-year stint at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the hiring wasn’t exactly cheered. Fans had been clamoring for Rick Majerus, whose health issues factored into his decision not to accept the job.
Of course, it’s worked out pretty well for Ryan and Wisconsin.
During 13 seasons under Ryan, 66, the Badgers are 321-121 and have reached the NCAA Tournament every season.
Wisconsin, which reached the Final Four earlier this month, is 21-13 with six Sweet 16s and only one opening-game loss on Ryan’s watch.
His teams also have won or shared the Big Ten title three times and won the Big Ten Tournament twice.
In other words, it’s not crazy to think that Anderson, 58, who has guided Central Missouri to three Division II Final Fours in the last six seasons and a national championship last month, could enjoy similar success at Missouri.
“When I really became convinced was when I heard the kids’ comments after the (Division II) championship game and, to a man, they all named Kim as the reason,” Flamank said.
Ryan had a similar effect on his players at his small-school coaching stops en route back to Wisconsin. He was a beloved figure and adjusted to “big-time college basketball” just fine.
Wonder how many Badgers’ fans regret that hire right now?