Column: Let’s get this next hire right
Many questions remain after Frank Haith’s departure.
Apr. 26, 2014
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Mizzou sports are not an easy thing to love.
Kind of like a teenage kid, one minute they're making you proud and the next they have you asking, “What made you think it was a good idea to go into our neighbor’s house when they weren't home to look for your Call of Duty video game?!”
Two years ago, the football team fulfilled a lot of people's expectations for their first SEC season by going 5-7 and failing to make a bowl game. In the offseason, many Mizzou faithful were under the impression that if the second season went like the first, coach Gary Pinkel would be gone.
As we're all aware, the football team responded tremendously, going on a spectacular run during the SEC regular season culminating in a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State and a No. 5 ranking in the final AP poll.
Unfortunately, the upcoming season may not be as propelled by last season's success as it will be clouded by DGB's off-the-field transgressions and widely publicized removal from the team.
Not to discredit Russell Hansbrough and Maty Mauk, both of whom have proven themselves in more limited roles, but with DGB's departure the team will now have new starters at wide receiver, running back and quarterback.
The basketball team has had its own successes and failures over the last few years. Following the Tigers’ departure in the first round of the 2011 tournament, the team looked poised to have a great season the following winter, returning ten players and the bulk of their scoring.
Then, as many coaches have before him, Mike Anderson pledged allegiance to his current school before bolting for another, in this case to Arkansas.
Despite being blindsided by Anderson's departure, Mike Alden and the rest of the athletic department responded quickly, hiring Frank Haith from Miami — who was not considered a front-runner in the coaching search — within two weeks.
Haith made very few changes in his first year, maintaining Anderson's philosophy of “40 minutes of hell.” Though the season will be remembered for the infamous upset in the first round to Norfolk State, the team still finished with an outstanding record of 30-5.
The past two years, the team has not come close to the success of the team in Haith's first year, despite moving to a weaker basketball conference. This past year the team was especially difficult to watch, as the Tiger offense frequently turned into a game of “Whose Shot Is It Anyway?” between Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson.
I know I speak for the majority of Tiger Nation in saying that when the season ended, I wanted Haith gone. I knew it wasn't going to happen, though. He'd only been here three years, and only one of those years had been with exclusively his players. Mizzou basketball fans were going to have to wait at least one more year.
Then last week amid swirling rumors, Haith left for the vacant Tulsa job, giving Tiger fans a reason to celebrate and look ahead to the very uncertain future.
What become of Haith's last recruiting class? Will they de-commit? And what of the current roster — will J3, Rosburg, Wes Clark, and Torren Jones stay, or bolt like Haith?
Regardless, this next hire will be the most important of Alden's career. For the sake of Mizzou Athletics, I hope he gets it right.