The Maneater

Larissa Anderson introduced as Missouri softball head coach

After nearly two decades at Hofstra, she will be the 10th coach in Missouri softball program history.

Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk introduces new Missouri softball head coach Larissa Anderson at a press conference on June 7, 2018. She will be the third to lead the program in as many seasons.

With rain clouds overhead and a reported thunderstorm warning, Missouri softball fans and media members were moved from the Mizzou Softball Complex mezzanine to a packed press box on Thursday afternoon, as Larissa Anderson was introduced as the new head coach of the Tigers’ softball program.

According to Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk, the department wanted to hire a “sitting” head coach and had its eye on Anderson.

“Ultimately we focused on coach Anderson,” Sterk said at Anderson’s introductory press conference. “It was important to have someone that had a long history of experience.”

When asked about what it was like to have someone with a record of stability and consistency running the softball program after the presser, Sterk let out a sigh and grinned before answering.

It was a response triggered by what now is history. Anderson will be replacing interim coach Gina Fogue, but also rebranding the program’s mentality left over from controversially disgraced skipper Ehren Earleywine. He was fired days before the start of the 2018 season as the culmination of long-alleged player mistreatment and a tumultuous relationship with Sterk.

Anderson, who was announced to the position on May 26, is coming off her second NCAA Regional appearance in four years as the head coach at Hofstra.

In her time there, Anderson was 130-73 in the top role and 399-153 in 10 seasons as an assistant. When combining those 14 seasons, her teams appeared in 10 Regionals and one Super Regional.

“I had no reason to leave [Hofstra],” Anderson said, “but when your dreams align with your opportunities, you know when it’s time and you know when it’s right. When I first met Jim [Sterk] on Long Island, I knew he had a clear vision for this program and the more we talked about philosophies and culture, I knew Mizzou was going to be my new home.”

Those philosophies were a big selling point for Anderson and, according to her, they may have been the number one reason she decided to come to Columbia.

“You want to build a program and you want to do it the right way,” Anderson said. “I know the resources are there. I know we’re able to recruit unbelievable student athletes. It really came down to philosophy and being able to align with my personal philosophy because not every school is able to be for me.”

When asked about building from what’s left of the Earleywine-Fogue roster, Anderson emphasized that it’s an experienced group and that they’re both “capable” and “know what they need to do” to win and build from the past.

Although the team will return most of its 2018 roster next season, that isn’t guaranteed to be the case regarding the rest of the coaching staff. The softball team’s roster page on Missouri Athletics’ website currently lists no associate coaches.

Anderson stated on Thursday that she’ll be bringing one member of her Hofstra staff with her to Columbia, but that coach’s name cannot be released as the hiring is “not official yet.” Otherwise, all positions on the Missouri coaching staff are currently open.

“The biggest thing is I want to make sure I’m bringing in the right person who can understand what our culture is and standard, and make sure that they, number one, bring a great work ethic,” Anderson said.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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