Upon his hiring, new Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith said a major factor that attracted him to Columbia was the school’s reputation for a strong student fan base. On Wednesday afternoon, Haith took his first step toward finding out why.
In just his fifth day as a resident of Columbia, Haith took the time to interact one-on-one with Missouri students at a meet and greet Wednesday at The Shack, located in the MU Student Center. The event, which featured appearances from a few of the players on next year’s team, gave Haith the opportunity to build a relationship with the students while settling into his new home on the MU campus.
“I love giving our students a chance to talk to and meet me,” Haith said. “I think it’s important as we start this journey that we have this relationship.”
Students such as junior Brad Galbreath embraced the opportunity to meet the 18th coach in Missouri basketball history.
“He seems like a very nice guy,” Galbreath said. “It will be interesting to see how the team reacts and gets situated with their new coach. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to next basketball season.”
Galbreath was one of many students that showed up at The Shack to greet the new coach. There was a regular flow of students eager to interact with Haith, many came equipped with cameras and memorabilia for the new coach to autograph.
“It was important to touch our student body because I think they’re a big part of our success,” Haith said. “Even though it’s in the spring, and we don’t play until next fall, I just wanted to have an introduction where I had a chance to put my eyes on them.”
In doing so, Haith said he was reminded of the reasons that had him eager to etch his name in the history of Missouri Tigers basketball upon accepting the position.
“I had a certain amount of anticipation about the energy and the facilities, but those things are phenomenal, in terms of the place we play in and the passion here,” Haith said. “I feel it. I get it. I understand it, and it will definitely help us win.”