Mike Anderson has restored the roar of Missouri Basketball. Taking over a program mired in sub-.500 basketball the three seasons before his arrival, Anderson has infused excitement, passion and winning expectations back into the Mizzou Nation and he's done it all in just four years.
Missouri ranks #11 nationally with 54 wins the past two seasons and the club's back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths and highly-regarded brand, The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball, makes Mizzou one of the hottest programs on the college basketball landscape.
The Tigers have won four NCAA Tournament games the past two seasons, including a 2009 run to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. That run came just a few months after the league coaches pegged the Tigers seventh in the Big 12's preseason rankings. Fast forward to last season, after MU lost three 1,000-point scorers, the Tigers were once again slotted seventh by the league brass, only to finish with 10 league wins (23-11 overall) and advance to the second round of NCAA play. In fact Missouri was just one of three teams in 2010 to qualify for the Big Dance and joined Syracuse as the only team to lose three 1,000-point scorers and win a post season game.
Back-to-back 20 win seasons, a consistent presence in the NCAA Tournament, NBA Draft picks, Academic All-Conference performers, All-Americans and National Coach of the Year awards just begin to tell the story of Anderson's reclamation project in Columbia. His growing success story in the Show-Me State starts with a grassroots effort to galvanize an entire hoops-crazy state.
Anderson first reconnected with coaches from around the region. Days after his hiring in 2006, Anderson met with the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association in Indianapolis, Ind., to give a more detailed look at his coaching philosophy, his dedication to his student-athletes and how he makes his family-oriented approach to the game of basketball so successful... Anderson's efforts with the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association got results. The Tiger sideline boss was soon invited to basketball clinics throughout the region and Missouri signed two of the state's top players in his second year, Kansas City's top high school performer, Marcus Denmon, and hardworking big man, Steve Moore. He has since added back-to-back Missouri Player of the Years, Michael Dixon (2009) and Ricky Kreklow (2010) to his recruiting haul.
Next, Anderson reconnected with the fans. Making better than 100 public appearances each of his first three seasons, Anderson met with the Tiger Nation anywhere and anytime. From appearances at the state capital in Jefferson City, to late-night encounters with fans at the local Walmart. Like his swarming defenses, Anderson seemed to be everywhere... and similar to the reaction of the high school coaching community, the Mizzou faithful responded. Mizzou Arena enjoyed a record three sellouts in 2006-07 and had four more sellouts to closeout the 2008-09 season, the most in facility history. In 2009-10 the Tigers set a Mizzou Arena record for attendance and their average of 13,861 fans during the Big 12 season broke the school record.
Anderson then turned his focus to recruiting. Hired just weeks before the start of the late signing period, the Missouri staff was seen from coast-to-coast, evaluating talent and searching for the right pieces to fit Mizzou's new brand of hardwood hysteria. That recruiting prowess has paid immediate dividends, as the Tigers produced back-to-back Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honorees, the school's first-ever Defensive Player of the Year (Tiller), first-ever Sixth Man of the Year (Matt Lawrence) and had multiple players earn All-Big 12 accolades, such as DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons, Kim English and All-Rookie Team member, Zaire Taylor. Missouri also enjoyed the Big 12's top-ranked recruiting class in 2010, a class that ranked in the Top 10 nationally by virtually every recruiting publication.
Anderson next cultivated the talent within the program. No Big 12 team has seen greater scoring increases than Anderson's bunch. The Tigers finished #4 nationally in scoring in 2008-09 and led the nation in assists per game. Missouri also set a school record for fewest turnovers in 2009 (second in 2010) and led the country in steals with 10.9 per game. In fact, no Big 12 school has recorded more steals in a two-year span than Missouri in 2008-10.
Finally, Anderson instilled a winning attitude, both on the court and in the classroom. During workouts, Anderson added competitive aspects to nearly every drill. From scrimmages to shooting regimens, Anderson went through the process of teaching his team how to win, and similar to his connection with coaches and fans, his recruitment of new Tigers and development of current ones, Anderson's efforts paid off. He is the winningest coach in school history through his first four seasons and the 54 wins for the Black & Gold the last two years is the second most ever at MU.
Classroom success has also been prevalent. The Tigers have enjoyed multiple Academic All-Big 12 honorees the last two years, including J.T. Tiller and Laurence Bowers in 2010. Tiller and fellow senior Zaire Taylor also earned their degrees in the last season, while a total of three players have begun postgraduate work the last two years while finishing their playing careers.
"Basketball is what ties many of these young men together and initially gave them the opportunity to attend Missouri, but make no mistake, we are here to make these men productive citizens and that begins in the classroom," Anderson said. "Education is a foundation for a better life and we will do everything in our power to make sure these young men leave Missouri with their degree and ready to take on life's challenges."
Anderson brought his brand of winning basketball to the University of Missouri and the Big 12 Conference when he was named the 16th head coach in school history on March 26, 2006.
"I'm simply honored and excited to become the head coach at Missouri," Anderson said at his opening press conference on the floor of Mizzou Arena. "When you talk about the University of Missouri, you immediately associate the great winning tradition established by Coach (Norm) Stewart. Having the opportunity to coach 17 seasons at Arkansas, I am familiar with Norm Stewart-coached teams. I remember their hard-nosed style of play and the passion the fans felt for their teams. Not many programs enjoyed the same type of fan support that we did during our days at Arkansas, but Missouri was one of them. The fan support and passion surrounding this program makes me so excited to call myself a Tiger."
For those looking to become familiar with Anderson's coaching style, simply recall the fast-paced Arkansas clubs of the 1990s, a program in which the 47-year-old spent eight seasons as the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator. Sporting a coaching philosophy ingrained on the defensive end of the floor, Anderson's clubs have annually ranked among the nation's top units in steals and were the nation's leaders in steals from 2002-05 and No. 3 in steals in 2005-06.
"It's an up-tempo brand of basketball predicated by our play on the defensive end," Anderson said. "Some folks call it Run-and-Gun, but it's actually Run-and-Execute. Our style is attack basketball with an emphasis on the defensive end of the floor. We allow our players to showcase their God-given abilities and when you see our team walk onto the floor, you will see a blue-collar unit that wins games because of how hard it plays. It's a style fans can enjoy and identify with."
Anderson came to Mizzou following a career-high 24 wins, which saw the Blazers reach the championship game of the Conference USA Tournament and face 8th-seeded Kentucky in the opening round of NCAA Tournament in Philadelphia. UAB's 24-7 overall record in 2005-06 was the second-highest win total in school history and the most for the program in 20 seasons (25 wins in 1985-86). The record ledger also saw Anderson average an impressive 22.3 wins in his four years at UAB tenure.
While those 22 wins per season are impressive, it has essentially been a regularity for Anderson-coached clubs. Anderson is averaging 21.7 wins per season at Mizozu and beginning with his days as an assistant under legendary sideline boss Nolan Richardson at Tulsa and Arkansas and continuing through his seven seasons as a head coach (25 seasons in all), Anderson has enjoyed 19 campaigns with 20-plus wins, an average win total of 23.1 per season.
While Anderson is one of the shining examples of Richardson's tutelage, the Birmingham, Ala., native has wasted little time solidifying his own coaching resume. Prior to his initial season at UAB, the Blazers struggled through a 13-17 campaign in 2001-02, but rallied to win 21 games under Anderson in 2002-03. That eight-game improvement marked the greatest single-season turnaround in school history and Anderson became one of just three first-year head coaches that season to win 20 games. The Blazers also finished second in Conference USA's National Division and advanced to the championship game of the C-USA Tournament, before falling to host Louisville 83-78. En route to that C-USA finale, the Blazers toppled (2006 NBA Finals MVP) Dwyane Wade and No. 1 seeded Marquette (ranked No. 8 nationally) 83-76 in the quarterfinals and qualified for the Postseason NIT before falling to eventual NIT champion St. John's in the second round.
In 2004, Anderson earned Ray Meyer Conference USA Coach of the Year accolades after guiding UAB to a 22-10 overall record and a share of the league's regular-season title with a 12-4 mark. Tabbed one of the nation's top up-and-coming coaches, Anderson's Blazers' finished the season ranked No. 23 in the national polls and were NCAA Tournament spoilers, toppling Washington 102-100 in the opening round and No. 1 Kentucky 76-75 in the Round of 32. That win over the top-ranked Wildcats vaulted UAB into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1981 and the win over UW was the program's first NCAA Tournament victory since 1986.
While many experts thought the 2004-05 Blazers would be in a rebuilding mode following the loss of four valuable seniors off their Sweet 16 unit, Anderson guided his squad to yet another 22-win campaign (22-11 overall) and a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. The Blazers captivated national audiences with their 82-68 win over the SEC West Champion LSU before falling to Arizona in the second round. That season the Blazers were led by current Washington Wizard Donnell Taylor.
Prior to his tenure at UAB, Anderson was a long-time assistant under legendary Arkansas and Tulsa head coach Nolan Richardson. Anderson spent 17 seasons (1985-2002) at Arkansas, which was highlighted by 12- 20-win campaigns, four 30-win seasons, three Final Fours and the 1994 NCAA National Championship with a 31-3 record. UA averaged 27 wins per season during the decade of the 1990s and their 270 wins from 1990-99 were more than all but four programs in the NCAA Division I ranks.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Anderson was an All-State and All-City guard at Jackson Olin High School before moving on to Jefferson State Junior College. Born December 12, 1959, Anderson and his wife, Marcheita, have four children; Darcheita (husband Keith), Michael Jr., Yvonne and Suney, and four grandchildren, Aiyanna, Mikayla, Laila and Anderson Keith. Michael Jr. is a recent graduate of Missouri and a three-year letterwinner, while Yvonne is a junior point guard at the University of Texas after being named Missouri's Player of the Year in 2008.
Anderson will bring winning basketball back to Mizzou
What They Are Saying About Mike Anderson
TUBBY SMITH - Head Coach, University of Minnesota "Mike Anderson is a shining star. He is the total package. A man of high integrity, class, confidence -- a winner! I have battled Mike Anderson teams over the years and I can tell you that his style of play will make the Big 12 coaches feel uneasy. I have so much respect for him and when the team, the University and the fans meet him - they will too. Congratulations to Missouri on a blockbuster hire!"
NOLAN RICHARDSON - Former Head Coach, University of Arkansas "Mike Anderson has been with me over 22 years as a player, assistant coach, and assistant head coach, and there's no question that he was a delight all the time, for all of the years we were together. I always knew that he would have the right opportunity to build a program at a place like Missouri, and that he would be a plus for any program. In my estimation he is truly one of the finest young basketball coaches around at this point in time. Secondly, I would like to congratulate Missouri for giving him this opportunity, and I have no doubt in my mind he will be very successful. My heart feels very proud to know that a young man under my tutelage for so many years has this wonderful opportunity."
JON SUNDVOLD - All-America Guard, University of Missouri "I am excited for Mike Anderson and look forward to him re-energizing Missouri basketball."
FLOYD KEITH - Executive Director, Black Coaches Association "I am absolutely elated that Missouri has made a decision to hire a coach who I think is going to do major things for the program there. Mike has all the qualities that Missouri was looking for, and without question, I think it's a great opportunity for both he and Missouri."
SETH DAVIS - CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, CSTV Analyst "I think it's a brilliant hire. It reminds of when Florida hired Billy Donovan. Not only will he win, but he'll bring such an exciting style of play that it will make people want to watch. I also think that no-one in the Big 12 plays that way, and it's going to be such an advantage for Missouri, sort of like a Princeton offensive system in reverse. Mike Anderson is a very good man, a good role model, and he is extremely well-respected by his peer and my peers. Congratulations to Missouri, they have hired a good man."
JIM HANEY - Executive Director, National Association of Basketball Coaches "Mike Anderson is a really a good person so that strikes me as the first thing I would say about him. Secondly, it's always a good thing to have your own sort of style, and he has his own style of play that I think benefits him greatly in the fact that this isn't a style that you practice against every day if you're opponent, nor is it a style played in the Big 12 Conference. He does it very well, and he comes from a rich history with Nolan Richardson, having been successful at the highest level there is. I see this as a very good hire by MU, I'm sure he'll do well."
KEVIN WEIBERG - Commissioner, Big 12 Conference "Mike Anderson is a proven winner. His teams play a unique, entertaining style that will be fun to watch. I think Missouri fans will be impressed with how hard his teams play. We welcome him to the Big 12."
FRAN FRASCHILLA - ESPN Broadcast Analyst "This is a `home run' hire for the Missouri Tigers. Mike Anderson is one of the most accomplished young coaches in the country and already a star in the coaching profession. As outstanding a coach as he is, Mike is even a better person. He is a man of great character and integrity."
MIKE DeCOURCY - Senior Writer, The Sporting News "Mike energized UAB basketball in a way many thought to be impossible. He made it so people no longer wondered what UAB stood for, because they knew: It stood for intense pressure defense, selfless offense and relentless drive. Mike's style of basketball is thrilling and will be a welcome change of pace in the Big 12. If he can find a consistent source of talent for Missouri, he can be a consistent winner."
ANDY KATZ - ESPN Analyst "Mike Anderson is a great choice because he can energize the program and the fan base with a style of play that makes it hard to leave your seat or change the channel for fear you'll miss too many possessions. Anderson raised the national profile of UAB in just three years. Give him time to do the same at Missouri."
Mike Anderson Career Coaching Record At A Glance
University of Missouri (Head Coach)
Tied MU Rookie Record for wins
Defeated four NCAA Tournament teams
Big 12 Champs / NCAA Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Second Round
MU's winningest coach throughfour years
University of Alabama at Birmingham (Head Coach)
NCAA Sweet 16
NCAA Second Round
NCAA First Round
Three Consecutive NCAA Appearances
Arkansas (Part-Time Assistant / Assistant Head Coach / Recruiting Coordinator)