Now that the decision is made, time for me to make a mea culpa.
Or in this case a mea maxima culpa, I have sinned in front of True Sons everywhere.
Comments by me heard on our air in the initial outset of the Mizzou Coaching Search were as follows.
“HE’S A D-2 COACH”
“If one person mentions Kim Anderson, I will break.”
“Don’t try and sell me on it”
I try to be a lot of things, understanding, loud, objective, some times I do all at once. But I neglected to do one thing I want to always do, and that’s be fair.
That’s where I let down the fan base, and to a larger part, supporters of Kim Anderson.
After I cooled my jets, I tried to take the time to talk to people to try and understand the sentiment of why bringing a coach who has as much Division One Head Coaching experience as I do was a good thing.
I talked to former players, prominent and from all areas, those associated with Mizzou, and some who couldn’t point Missouri out on a map. Every one of them said, this was the only way Missouri could go to save itself, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mizzou’s Department of Athletics will never admit it, (by the action basically they did) but they created a chasm between itself and much of its fanbase when Norm Stewart departed in 1999. I would contend that even then it would have been a bigger gamble to take a shot on Anderson, but in hindsight would it have played out this well?
That’s why folks today and throughout the last week who stumped for Anderson are jumping for joy, and I have to leap with them. Not a single person connected to Anderson who I talked to said a bad word about him. That’s not surprising. What was surprising is that people who don’t know him from Adam felt an emotional connection with him that’s been missing from Mizzou basketball for 15 years.
To contrast some statements I made earlier, I’ve revised my feeling on this issue. Being a “True Son” was the most important qualification he had for this position.
Mike Alden could have taken a risk and gone for broke, but Gregg Marshall never seriously contemplated leaving Wichita State, and Ben Howland carried more baggage than you could fit on a Cessna jet for Mizzou to go down that road. Any mid-major hire would not have galvanized the fan base the way this one will.
This hire was made for guys like Tim, who called The Big Show, Monday. Tim renewed his Tiger Scholarship Fund account for the first time since Norm Stewart walked off the floor he built for his final game.
I’m not telling you he’ll be a success, in fact, it would be a daunting task for any coach to be immediately successful with what they are inheriting with this position. What I will tell you is what one person who told me as one of Kim’s closest friends, “Kim wouldn’t take this job if he didn’t think he could win here.”
I first was told there was a fractured relationship between Alden and Anderson stemming from the separation of ’99. Time has partly healed that division, and now commitment has built new skin from a wound that no longer exists.
Kim Anderson is the 18th Head Coach of the Missouri Basketball Team. As a fellow True Son I wish him nothing but the best, and tell him sorry for judging prematurely.