It’s back to the future for Missouri basketball.
Missouri introduced Kim Anderson, who played and served as an assistant coach at MU, as its newest head basketball coach in front of a large contingent of fans and media at the Reynolds Alumni Center Tuesday morning.
Anderson harked back to the glory days of Norm Stewart and gritty basketball in his first public comments since Missouri tabbed him as its latest coach.
He stressed his desire to build an identity of a hard-working, fundamentally sound team that also is known for off-the-court achievement.
“Missouri people,” Anderson said. “That’s what we are, we’re Missouri people. And that’s the way I want our basketball team.”
Those values mirror the ones Stewart instilled in him. Stewart taught Anderson how to survive, he said.
“Coach Stewart, obviously, has had a tremendous impact on my career as a player and as a coach,” Anderson said. “He taught me so many things, not just basketball.”
He mixed humor with sincerity, joking about his age while also discussing his long-term desire to coach at his alma mater.
Missouri passed over Anderson, then an assistant coach, when it picked a successor for Stewart in 1999. Anderson said, in hindsight, he wasn’t ready for the job.
“I wouldn’t have hired me either in 1999,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t ready, I don’t think I was prepared to run a basketball program. I think there were just a lot of things I still needed to learn.”
Anderson spent 12 seasons as head coach at Central Missouri, leading the Mules to the Division II National Championship earlier this month. His ability to modify his system is one of his strengths, he said.
The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday that Anderson’s contract guarantees him $1.1 million per year, with the possibility of earning more that $2 million.
The new head coach said he talked with current Missouri assistants Monday night. It’s unclear whether Frank Haith’s No. 2 Tim Fuller will stay in Columbia when his contract expires at the end of June.
Sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg said he feels the team is pleased with the hire and that he doesn’t expect any players to transfer.
Anderson said he doesn’t think Missouri is reloading but rebuilding instead.
“I think we will have a good basketball team, and we're not done recruiting yet either,” Anderson said. “At this point I am really optimistic and excited to be here and have the opportunity.”
The athletic department remained tight-lipped throughout the entire coaching search. Anderson himself found out at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The team was notified during a workout that started at 2:45 p.m., and the university sent out an official announcement at 3 p.m.
“We certainly had a very detailed and a very exhaustive process,” Missouri Director of Athletics Mike Alden said.
Rosburg is one of two Missouri natives on the Tiger roster. Rosburg knew Anderson previously, attending camps at Central Missouri during high school.
“I’m thrilled,” Rosburg said. “All that he said today, he’s a Missouri guy, been around, and that’s kind of like me. I’ve had the pleasure to know him for a couple years, so I know what he stands for. Right when the job became available, that was the first person I thought of. I knew he’d be a great fit here.”
Certain fans have complained of a disconnect between the Stewart-era and the last 15 years of Tiger basketball.
"Well if there was a divide, I don't necessarily think there was one,” Anderson said, “so from that standpoint the only thing I would say is that if there was one, there isn't anymore.”