No matter whether Kim Anderson becoming Missouri’s new basketball coach made ripples from coast to coast, MU fans, by and large, seemed happy with the hire.
The afternoon crowd at Shiloh Bar and Grill in downtown Columbia cheered Anderson’s hiring.
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Asked if he liked the decision to tab Anderson, one patron said, “You mean, do I like winning?”
His buddy chimed in, “Maybe now they’ll pass the ball.”
“Or play defense,” another said.
“He’s going to be good,” Tim Downs said.
Anderson’s former teammates went further and applauded the choice by athletic director Mike Alden.
“There’s an attitude that he is very deserving and that he’s shown through all the success of the Central Missouri program that he can do the job,” said Bill Flamank, who was a senior captain when Anderson was a sophomore in 1974-75. “Everything’s been very positive and we just look forward to seeing his teams on the court.”
Players who Anderson coached at Missouri also praised his hiring.
“It’s a long time coming and well-deserved,” said Jevon Crudup, a Raytown South graduate who played for the Tigers during Anderson’s second stint on Norm Stewart’s staff. “It just makes sense. He’s the right coach for the job.”
Anderson’s most recent players also were effusive.
“He’s a guy that will do anything for you,” said Central Missouri senior Jon Gilliam, who played two seasons for Anderson. “He said today that if we ever need anything, regardless of where he’s coaching, to always get a hold of them. That’s the guy he’s been from the day I first talked to him until today. That’s never going to change.
“That’s a good carryover going to Missouri. They should be honored to have him there.”
The mood wasn’t quite so festive on campus. One passerby near the Reynolds Alumni Center hadn’t heard Anderson had been hired three hours after the announcement.
“(The search) has come up a few times this week, but it hasn’t been a big topic,” said Steve Winters, associate director of student information systems at Missouri. “It’s all been so secretive.”
He said he figured Alden would take more time before settling on the new coach.
Asked if he’s been following the coaching search closely, Missouri student Tim Albright, a Park Hill South graduate, said, “Not really to be honest. My dad was talking about it, but I’ve had a pretty busy class schedule. …
“I haven’t really heard much of this guy, but he’s going to be changing things up a lot. I’ll pay attention for sure, because I want to see what this new guy will bring to the table.”
The Star’s Sam McDowell contributed to this report