Kim Anderson replaces Haith as men’s basketball coach

CMU helmsman went to division-II Final Four.

Kim Anderson presents the net to the crowd after the University of Central Missouri's mens basketball claimed its third consecutive MIAA title on March 29, 2014 at the UCM Multipurpose Building in Warrensburg, Mo. Anderson was as hired as the head coach of the University of Missouri's mens basketball team on Monday. Taz Hall/The Muleskinner

Kim Anderson, an MU alum and the former helmsman at Central Missouri, is the new head coach of the Missouri basketball program, Mizzou Athletics announced Monday.

The university will introduce Anderson, a former player and assistant coach at Missouri, during a press conference Tuesday at 10 a.m.

“We are pleased and excited to have Kim Anderson leading our program,” Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden said in a press release. “He’s a man of great character, integrity and respect.”

Anderson coached Central Missouri for 12 seasons. The Mules won the 2014 Division II championship.

“We clapped for him,” UCM freshman center Sean O’Brien said of Anderson after he announced he was leaving for MU. “It’s frustrating to lose him, but he’s a great guy and a great coach.”

O’Brien said he received a text around 2 p.m. to come to a team meeting around 3 p.m. He said the meeting was emotional and Anderson thanked the team. O’Brien said that Anderson told the team if they needed anything they could contact him.

O’Brien said that Anderson left for Columbia after the meeting.

He replaces Frank Haith, who took the head coaching position at Tulsa following three seasons in Columbia.

“He’s an M-I-Z guy and someone with deep ties to the program,” said Keyon Dooling, a former Tiger guard and NBA veteran.

Anderson played for Missouri from 1973-1977, where he scored 1,289 points, good for 24th all-time at the university. The team won a Big 8 Conference championship in 1976, and a year later, Anderson earned conference player of the year honors after leading the Big 8 in scoring.

“The fact that he’s a Missouri Tiger at heart is important, he is committed to Mizzou and has a passion to build a program of which all Tiger fans will be proud,” Alden said in the release.

Anderson became a graduate assistant coach for the Tigers under Norm Stewart in 1982. He left Columbia for a stint at Baylor from 1985-1991, but then he returned to Missouri as an assistant until 1999.

“I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to return to Mizzou and lead a program that our family is so vested in,” Anderson said in the statement.

Anderson went 274-94 at UCM, placing him in the top 10 in winning percentage among Division II coaches. He led the team to three Division II Final Fours and six Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association regular season titles.

The MU Board of Curators met Monday afternoon, likely to sign off on the hire. Those at the meeting refused to talk to reporters afterward, but an announcement was made in a press release roughly 30 minutes later.

MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin took office in February. It’s his first head coaching hire.

"Kim is a tremendous teacher and coach with a proven track record as a winner, both as a player and as a person,” Loftin said in the release. “More importantly, his integrity and values-centered approach will help us recruit elite student-athletes who will win championships and make us proud both on and off of the court."

Missouri’s coaching search began April 17 when Haith unexpectedly signed with Tulsa. Others rumored to be candidates include former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Louisiana Tech coach Michael White and Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.

Missouri athletics has seen a recent uptick in student-athlete wrongdoing. Three players on the 2013-2014 basketball team faced run-ins with the law.

In the fall of 2012, Michael Dixon left MU after multiple rape accusations surfaced against him. Alden appeared to address this in his comments.

“(Anderson) has demonstrated the ability to mentor young men on and off the court, academically and socially,” Alden said in the release.

Anderson served as an assistant commissioner of the Big 12 for two seasons before taking the UCM job.

The Sedalia native is the 18th permanent head coach in Missouri basketball history, and just the fifth since 1967.

Alex Schiffer contributed to this report.

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