Campus Corner

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Taking stock of Missouri’s basketball coaching search as it nears one week old

04/24/2014 11:12 AM

04/24/2014 4:23 PM

There’s plenty of speculation about who Missouri will hire as its next men’s basketball coach, but only one candidate is known to have been contacted by someone affiliated with the Tigers’ search: Central Missouri coach Kim Anderson.

So, who else are the Tigers targeting to succeed Frank Haith, who flew to Tulsa one week ago? Truthfully, it’s hard to say anything with certainty, but here’s a look:

Definite interest

• 

Central Missouri’s Kim Anderson

Why is Missouri interested?:

Anderson, 58, has strong ties to the Tigers. He was a star player from 1973-77 under Norm Stewart and served as his assistant coach for 11 seasons at MU during two stints. Anderson led the Mules to the NCAA Division II national championship last month.

Under Anderson, Central Missouri has made three NCAA D-II Final Four appearances since 2007. His record is 274-95 overall and 168-78 in conference play.

Anderson, who also spent two years as an assistant commissioner for the Big 12 in charge of basketball, might not be considered the splashy hire some fans hoped for, but his credentials are rock solid and many believe he could lock down Missouri’s borders from a recruiting standpoint.

Why Missouri might look elsewhere?:

The biggest perceived knocks are Anderson’s age — he’ll be 59 in May — and concerns about his ability to recruit at the Division I level. The right staff to aid in that recruiting process would be a critical piece to the puzzle for Anderson.

Might be in the mix

• 

Ben Howland

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Howland, 56, isn’t coaching, but he arguably has the most glowing resume of any of Missouri’s presumed targets. He has taken three programs — Northern Arizona, Pittsburgh and UCLA — to the NCAA Tournament.

Howland, along with active coaches Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, has taken a team to the Final Four in three consecutive seasons (UCLA, 2006-08). And Howland, the 2002 national coach of the year,

reportedly wants to get back into coaching

.

Why Missouri might look elsewhere?:

Howland missed the NCAA Tournament in two of his final five seasons at UCLA and went 2-3, never making it past the round of 32, in the three appearances during that span. Plus, it’s fair to wonder if he’s a long-term solution for the Tigers or another coach who’d be destined for a short stay in Columbia, like Mike Anderson, who left for Arkansas after five seasons, and Haith, who bolted for Tulsa after three.

• 

Stephen F. Austin’s Brad Underwood

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Underwood, who has strong ties to the Midwest. He is a native of McPherson, Kan., and started his coaching career at Dodge City Community College. Underwood went on to spend 10 seasons as an assistant at Western Illinois, giving him a handle on recruiting St. Louis.

After a successful stint at Daytona Beach Community College, Underwood spent six seasons at Kansas State as an assistant under Bob Huggins and Frank Martin, so he has a good feel for recruiting Kansas City, too. He moved with Martin to South Carolina, giving him a taste of the SEC as well before leading Stephen F. Austin to a 32-3 season in his first year as a Division I coach. Underwood’s Lumberjacks rolled through the Southland Conference undefeated and knocked off VCU in the NCAA Tournament round of 64.

Why Missouri might look elsewhere?:

Underwood reportedly was in consideration for the job at Marshall before withdrawing his name from consideration Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz. Underwood is also in consideration for the Southern Mississippi job, according to CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish. Neither of those positions would seem to be on the same level of Missouri and, because Underwood only has one year of experience as a Division I head coach, he might be considered a reach.

• 

Louisiana Tech’s Michael White

Why Missouri might be interested?:

White, 37, is a young coach on the rise. Tennessee targeted White before talks broke down and the Volunteers hired Donnie Tyndall from Southern Miss. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, White is 74-31, including a 56-15 record in the last two seasons and a share of back-to-back Conference USA championships.

His father, Kevin, is the Duke athletic director and he played at Mississippi from 1995-99, giving him a strong knowledge of the SEC. He recently signed a six-year, $3.6 million extension at Louisiana Tech and could be an affordable solution and potential long-term hire.

Why Missouri might look elsewhere?:

White doesn’t have any NCAA Tournament experience as a head coach. Louisiana Tech was relegated to the National Invitational Tournament the last two seasons after coming up short in the Conference USA Tournament. The Bulldogs did reach the NIT quarterfinals this season.

Probably not

• 

Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Marshall, 51, the hottest name in coaching searches right now after leading the Shockers to the Final Four in 2013 and an NCAA-record 35-0 start last season. He’s a no-brainer hire if he wants the job after going 174-71 in seven seasons at Wichita State, including five straight seasons with at least 25 wins and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

Why doesn’t Marshall’s hiring seem likely?:

He has it pretty good at Wichita State and the cost to land Marshall — probably $3 million or more — might be prohibitive. With incentives, Marshall makes roughly $2 million per year and he’s at a university where he doesn’t have to jockey for relevance with football.

Marshall is the king of the Shockers’ campus — beloved by the fans and wider community. He made that program relevant, has a strong returning roster and doesn’t need the headache of trying to rebuild at Missouri. Marshall is in a comfortable position and can bide his time until a truly elite program comes calling. Or, he could become the Shockers’ version of Norm Stewart.

• 

VCU’s Shaka Smart

Why Missouri might be interested?: Smart, 37, became a hot commodity in 2011 after leading the Rams on a surprising Final Four run, which included an upset of top-seeded Kansas in the Elite Eight. Of course, he spurned a reported $2.5 million offer from Illinois

in 2012, shrugged off interest from Minnesota and UCLA last year and also turned down Marquette earlier this month.

Why doesn’t Smart’s hiring seem likely?:

Much like Marshall, Smart has it pretty good at VCU and the cost to pry him away would likely be north of $3 million. Even then, he might not be seriously tempted. With incentives, he already makes roughly $1.6 million per year and he’s at a university where he doesn’t have to jockey for relevance with football.

Smart is the king of the Rams’ campus — beloved by the fans and wider community. He is in a comfortable position, especially with new $25 million practice facility in the works, and can bide his time until a truly elite program comes calling. Or, he could become the Rams’ version of Norm Stewart.

• 

Nebraska’s Tim Miles

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Miles, 47, rejuvenated interest in the Cornhuskers’ program, which before last season hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998 — back in Raytown graduate Tyronn Lue’s days.

Why doesn’t Miles’ hiring seem likely?:

Miles is only in the second year of a seven-year contract and has an $800,000 buyout if he were to leave now. He’s comfortable in Lincoln, Neb., and his rebuilding efforts are starting to bear fruit. Jumping ship to take on a new rebuilding effort seems unlikely.

• 

Dayton’s Archie Miller

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Miller, 35, took the Flyers to the Elite Eight and is 63-38 in three seasons during his first stop as a Division I head coach. He emerged as one of the hot, young names in coaching after a tourney runs that included wins against Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford, which knocked off Kansas in the round of 32.

Why doesn’t Miller’s hiring seem likely?:

UPDATE: A Dayton official confirmed to The Star on Thursday that Missouri has not reached out to Miller, who signed an extension through the 2018-19 season after the Flyers’ Sweet 16 run.

No

• 

Xavier’s Chris Mack

Why Missouri might be interested?:

Mack, 44, is another rising star in the coaching ranks. He’s gone 111-57 in five seasons with the Musketeers. Xavier has reached the NCAA Tournament in four of those five years, including Sweet 16 appearances in 2010 and 2012.

Why isn’t he considered a candidate?:

UPDATE: A source told The Star on Thursday that Mack has not been contacted by Missouri and “is happy at Xavier.”

He graduated from high school in Cincinnati and later played two seasons at Xavier. He was the Musketeers’ director of basketball operations for two years under the late Skip Prosser, who he followed to Wake Forest in 2001. Three years later, he returned to Xavier and spent the next five years on Sean Miller’s staff, When Miller moved on Arizona, Mack inherited the reins at Xavier.

Earlier this month, Mack turned down a job at California-Berkeley — which eventually hired Cuonzo Martin. He doesn’t seem interested in chases a bigger paycheck and

told the Cincinnati Enquirer

that “Xavier is where my heart is.” Besides, there is no indication Missouri has contacted Mack about its vacancy.

• 

Texas El-Paso’s Tim Floyd

Why was there speculation Missouri would be interested?:

Floyd, 60, is considered a tremendous Xs and Os guy. He’d restore order to a program that at times seemed rudderless during recent seasons at both ends of the floor. The laundry list of players he has coached — Jamaal Tinsley, Marcus Fizer and Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State as well as O.J. Mayo, Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan at USC — is impressive and speaks to his strength as a recruiter as well. Plus, he’s interested in the job. Floyd is under contract at UTEP through next season, but there reportedly is no buyout should he leave.

Why isn’t he considered a candidate?: That interest doesn’t appear to be mutual. Three sources told The Star

that Floyd had not been contacted. Age is a factor much like with Central Missouri’s Kim Anderson. There’s also the specter of an NCAA investigation during his time at USC, involving payments made to Mayo’s handlers during his recruitment. Floyd was exonerated, but it’s a cloud he’s never been entirely able to shake.

• 

Purdue’s Matt Painter

Why was there speculation Missouri would be interested?:

Painter, 43, was Missouri’s top target during the last coaching search in 2011. In fact, the job was Painter’s if he wanted it before he opted to stay with the Boilermakers and signed an eight-year extension.

Why isn’t he considered a candidate?: Painter was a fast-rising coaching star three years ago with four straight seasons of at least 25 wins and five consecutive years with at least one NCAA Tournament victory, including back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2009 and 2010. But since that flirtation with Missouri, Purdue is seven games below .500 in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers also have endured two straight losing seasons, going 31-35 overall and only 13-22 in conference play. There’s also the not-insignificant matter of a $1 million buyout if he left now.

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