I had to listen to Boomers bang the table for Kim Anderson to be hired as Mizzou’s men’s basketball coach after Norm Stewart retired. It was infuriating. Then he went and won a couple D2 natties at Central Missouri and the banging continued. Bring the True Son home. Give him his rightful shot at the job he’d so desperately wanted for so long.
Caving to that rhetoric is exactly how we got where we are. Mizzou basketball is once again leaderless, searching for another head coach after a series of lackluster, at times disastrous, head coaching hires. You know, maybe it’s not even a “series” of bad hires. Maybe it’s an embarrassing existence of bad hires. Quin Snyder flamed out spectacularly. Mike Anderson bolted for Arkansas. Frank Haith slipped out the back door. Kim Anderson couldn’t get anything right while being leveled with sanctions out of his control. Cuonzo Martin flamed out four years after signing the #3 class in the country. Here we are.
In its 116-year history. I’d argue Mizzou has made a grand total of two “good hires.”
-Norm Stewart: 634 wins. Eight regular season conference championships. Six Big 8 tournament championships. Most tournament wins in school history. Hall of Famer. Mizzou legend. Alum. True Son.
-Quin Snyder: Worst timed hire in the history of basketball.
You won’t get guys who have been successful elsewhere to come to Mizzou. That’s the reality I find myself in.
Sean Miller is a long shot. He will command a gaudy paycheck at the risk of bringing a show cause with him to Columbia. Chris Mack is used to that Louisville money. Frank Martin has a Final Four on his resume (but has had glowing things to say about Mizzou and Columbia in the past). The further we go down the line, we get closer and closer to the point of diminishing returns. You’ll make a hire that’s no better than what you got with Cuonzo Martin, Frank Haith and Mike Anderson because your top targets all told you thanks but no thanks. Mizzou is up against a half dozen power five programs with head coaching vacancies, including four SEC teams.
There’s a guy who you can almost guarantee will say yes. It’s Kim English.
He’s not Kim Anderson. He’s learned under
Frank Haith Tad Boyle and Rick Barnes. Two coaches with national pedigree. Barnes is a hall of famer. Kim landed Justyn Fernandez at GMU, a top 100 four-star recruit from IMG Academy who was holding three power five offers. D’Shawn Schwartz, another top 100 recruit, followed him to George Mason from Colorado. His career trajectory is on the rising end of its bell curve. I don’t get the feeling that he’s even started to peak.
He’s young. He’s a beloved alum. He has a very good recruiting track record. He played in the league. Most importantly, an initial five-year deal with a young coach leaves you a lot of leftover money for the most valuable commodity in college sports: a deep assistant pool.
Spending big money on vet coaches leaves little left for a mid-tier power five program like Mizzou. A handsome assistant pool is a luxury you cannot afford when you’re paying middle of the road coaches power five money. You leave yourself zero money leftover for good assistants who aren’t related to recruits.
Give Kimmie his deal, let him stroke competitive checks to in-demand assistants. Get the program off the ground and let him run.
Start getting creative. Leave the re-treads behind. Get a man in here who knows the program, knows how to sell Columbia, hates kansas, and won’t break the bank like a Sean Miller or Frank Martin or an assistant from a blue chip program.
Modern problems require modern solutions.
The Gene Keady murder ball rock fight style of college basketball is long gone. Jason Sutherland ain’t walking through that door. A head coach can no longer mold his team through blood and braun. The game has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see flying elbows and a “No Bitches Allowed” style of play return to college basketball (and every sport for that matter), but it just isn’t in the cards. The game is bogged down with a bureaucracy of over-officiating and ticky-tack fouls. Talent and discipline are what matter now.
Who knows. Maybe it’s time to sell our soul for a guy like Sean Miller and get in the mud. There are zero guarantees he says yes. Then you’re stuck with another retread. Shaking that bottle too many times is gonna make your fries soggy.
Kim’s stock is only going to get higher from here. Alma mater discounts are very real, but so is the possibility of him quickly rising out of your price range in the next five years.
If he doesn’t work out, we’re back in the familiar place we find ourselves now.
If he does work out, you have an alum under lock and key with no possibility of ever leaving a program he resurrected. Mizzou Arena will again be one of the toughest places to play in the country. Donor money will flow. Money will be no object.
Mizzou is never successful when we go the conventional route. Take the risk.
“If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we will lose to the Yankees out there.”