Most Missouri basketball fans are familiar with Tim Fuller.
Fuller has been an assistant basketball coach with the Tigers for three seasons, serving as the associate head coach the last two years and in an interim head coach capacity when Frank Haith was suspended and after he resigned.
Of course, Missouri fans may not be as familiar with Brad Loos.
While an official announcement isn’t expected until next week, Loos will join new Tigers men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson’s staff.
Loos, who was born in St. Louis but grew up in suburban Nashville, Tenn., has spent the last 12 seasons on Anderson’s staff at Central Missouri, including the last five years as the associate head coach.
Loos, whose father Dave has won more than 400 games in 24 seasons as the head coach at Austin Peay, has never coached at the NCAA Division I level, but he adds value as a trusted confidant for Anderson among other things.
The Star talked to Loos about that lack of Division I experience among other topics, giving fans a chance to get to know the newest (albeit still unofficial) Tigers’ assistant coach:
Q: You’ve interviewed for other Division II head coaching jobs before and would have had a chance to take over at Central Missouri. Why did you decide to follow coach Anderson to Columbia instead?
: “Coach is absolutely one of the best in the country to work for, and I realize that and I realize how fortunate I am. So, to continue to do that, it’s quite a blessing.”
Q: The last 12 years, you’ve been on coach Anderson’s staff. Where were you before that?
: “Well, I played for my dad at Austin Peay. Played is probably too strong a term; I was on the team at Austin Peay. I practiced and warmed up really good. After that, I spent one year as a student assistant, where I finished up my classes at Austin Peay. I kind of filled their graduate assistant role, even though I wasn’t a graduate yet, for one year. Then, we and coach (Anderson) kind of got hooked up through a mutual friend, a guy named Ken Libby in St. Louis. And 12 years later, here we are.”
Q: People have made some jokes about coach Anderson’s age, and he’s been great about it, but what will be some of the challenges he faces going from the MIAA to the SEC?
: “Every level is different and every level has its own unique obstacles to overcome, so we’ll have to get used to the SEC. We’ll have to get used to the pace of life, which I think will increase for us. Obviously, I’ve never recruited at that level, so I can probably better answer this question in a few months after having a chance to get my feet wet. But I do think, at the end of the day, recruiting is about developing relationships and it’s about networking. It’s about getting to know people.
“That is one thing I’d like to think I’m pretty good at, but I know Coach A is good at it. He’s a people person. You’re not going to meet a guy that’s more likeable. I have a hard time believing there’s anybody better in a living room with parents and kids than Coach A is, because he’s the type of guy that you want your son playing for. He can walk into a room, and he just owns the room. Parents eat that up and they should, because he is genuine. What you see is what you get with coach.”
Q: At Central Missouri, you and coach Anderson have concentrated a lot on Kansas City and St. Louis from a recruiting standpoint, will that help lock down the borders in terms of recruiting at Missouri?
: “I know almost every coach in both cities, and I think we’ve developed good relationships all the way through with them. We obviously had nine or 10 kids from the state of Missouri on our roster at Central Missouri this year. Locking down the state of Missouri, so to speak, is important. Those are the kids we’re going to thrive on.
“If you look back at coach (Norm) Stewart’s teams, that’s the type of kids that they thrived on. Are we going to keep everyone in state? No, probably not, but I do think we’ve got to make a concerted effort to do that if we’re going to be successful, because there’s a lot of really good basketball in the state of Missouri.
“Why go all over the country if you don’t have to and if you can keep these kids here? I think we’ve got great relationships all throughout the state, and I know there’s a lot of high school coaches that have expressed a ton of enthusiasm for this hire. They’re excited that coach Anderson is the head guy at Mizzou and I think they’ll help us and want their kids to stay in state.”
Q: Coach Anderson also decided to retain Tim Fuller. Is there some valuable in terms of continuity for the players and helping you guys adjust?
: “Absolutely. From what I’ve heard, he had a big hand in recruiting these kids. The word you said is continuity, and you’re absolutely right. I think Tim will do a great job of helping us transition and creating a trust level with these players. Obviously, they already trust him, so he gives us somebody we can lean on in terms of that.”
Q: How crazy are these next few weeks going to be with three scholarships to fill, trying to build a roster that can win some games next season?
: “I’m not thinking about the next three or four weeks. I’m just hoping to get through the next three or four days. [laughing] The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind. I’m setting new records on my cell phone and my text-message plan. But, you know what, we’re going to just take it day by day. I know that’s cliché, but it’s the truth right now. We’ll go day by day, try to figure this thing out and take small steps. Hopefully, those small steps work themselves into big leaps.
“We have those three scholarships and I know it’s going to be a little more difficult to fill those at this level than it is at Division II. In Division II right now, if you have three scholarships, you’re probably pretty good off. You can find a heck of a lot of good players at Division II, but we’ll beat the bushes and we’ll find something out there. We’ll put a good team together, a good product together and we’ll see what happens.”
Q: How excited are you and Kim to be embarking on this journey together?
: “It’s incredibly exciting. It’s a dream come true for both of us. Obviously, being the Mizzou coach is (Anderson’s) dream job — and rightfully so. I know one thing, there’s not another coach in the country who would be more excited to be the head coach at the University of Missouri than him.
“This is everything he ever wanted, so you’re not going to find another coach that’s going to give a better effort or have more pride in the University of Missouri than Kim Anderson. That goes without a doubt, and I’m just as excited. Obviously, this is a dream come true for me as well.
“When you get into the business, you always dream of coaching at the highest level. To have this opportunity is unbelievable for me, so it’s been a whirlwind. I’m not sure it’s really hit me yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s about to — ready or not. I know one thing, my 6-year-old son (Brady) is a huge Mizzou fan. I just walked into his room and he had Truman the Tiger curled up in his arm with a Mizzou blanket pulled over the top of him, so I know one guy that’s fired up.”