Missouri’s search for a new men’s basketball coach is over. Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden put speculation to rest Monday with an announcement that former Miami Hurricanes coach Frank Haith will take over as the Tigers' men’s basketball coach.
In a special closed session Monday night, the UM System Board of Curators approved an employment package of $1.5 million guaranteed for five years, plus a $100,000 in deferred annual compensation, with a one-year automatic extension that begins on May 1, 2012.
"We're very pleased to have such a well-rounded and respected man lead our basketball program into the future," Alden said. “Frank has the character and integrity we are looking for, and he's someone who is very excited to be a Missouri Tiger. And of course, we feel that all of these qualities combined, when given the opportunity at a program with a proud tradition and resources such as ours at Mizzou, that he's going to win at a very high level."
Haith praised MU's facilities and fans in a news release Monday night.
“I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for this university and this program," Haith said. "I coached against Norm Stewart. The support of the students and administration is second-to-none and the tradition is outstanding."
Haith posted an overall record of 129-99 in his seven seasons as coach at Miami. He went 40-63 in Atlantic Coast Conference games.
Miami’s best season under Haith came in 2008 when the team finished 23-11 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. The team went 8-8 in conference play, good for fifth in the ACC. That was Miami’s only NCAA tournament appearance under Haith.
“(Coach Haith has) done a tremendous job as the leader of our basketball program since he got here," Miami deputy athletics director Tony Hernandez said in a news conference Monday afternoon. "He’s leaving the program in excellent condition. We’re excited for our future and wish him, his wife Pam and his two children the best of luck at Missouri.”
Before taking over as head coach at Miami, Haith served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M, Penn State, Wake Forest and the University of Texas.
Many Missouri fans did not echo Barnes’ optimism immediately after it was reported that Haith had been hired, however. Alden, who was the target of most of the fans’ criticism, explained why he believed his decision had drawn so much criticism.
"We have very passionate fans," Alden said. "And I think when you're announcing a new coach and there isn't a lot known about the particular candidates, and someone comes to the forefront that not a lot of people know about, in that time of uncertainty, that emotion comes out."
Alden continued to say that he hopes the “passionate” Missouri fan base will start to embrace Haith now that the reasons behind his hire have been announced.
Haith will address the media for the first time as the Missouri men’s basketball coach at 10 a.m. Tuesday.