Kim Anderson never really had a chance.
Following three tough years at Missouri, the Tigers have decided to move on, asking Anderson to step down as the head coach of the men’s basketball team.
“This decision has been very difficult for me personally because of the tremendous respect I have for Kim,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said. “I know how hard he and his staff have worked to turn the program around over the last three years, however, the lack of on-court success has resulted in a significant drop in interest surrounding our program, and we could not afford for that to continue another year,” Sterk said in a statement released by the team.
Anderson will finish out the season with SEC tournament play coming up this week before he officially steps down.
In three years Anderson failed to win a conference road game and ended his tenure with a record of 26-67.
Now the question is, who will Sterk hire as the next coach to lead the Tigers?
Missouri hasn’t seen a successful season since Frank Haith bolted for Tulsa, but unlike Mike Alden searching for a coach to please the Missouri alumni, Sterk knows better. He has the money to spend and he will use his resources properly to bring in a hire that can return the team to prominence.
Right now the biggest targets on Missouri’s radar are Cuonzo Martin from California and Tom Crean from Indiana.
There have been rumors in the past that Martin is looking to leave his post at California, even after the school gave him a new contract that runs through 2021.
Martin has ties to the state of Missouri, growing up in East St. Louis, along with his tenure as head coach of Missouri State from 2008 to 2011.
His ties to Missouri could give him an advantage for the Tigers job, Missouri needs a coach that can recruit within the state. This past year alone Anderson missed out on adding some of the nation’s top talent, including Michael Porter Jr. of Columbia and Jordan Goodwin of St. Louis.
Tom Crean, who is the current head coach at Indiana, is reportedly another name on the top of Sterk’s wish list.
Crean hasn’t been able to bring Indiana to the level of success the program demands in the Big Ten. The expectations to produce a championship caliber program have weighed on his relationships at Indiana and it could be a relationship nearing its end.
Crean doesn’t have Missouri ties, but he does have experience when it comes to rebuilding a broken program.
Most #Mizzou fans seem to want Tom Crean to get the job in CoMo. So do most Indiana fans
— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) March 6, 2017
When he was hired at Indiana in 2008, he inherited a team with self-imposed scholarship reductions. In his first three seasons, he went 28-66, one game better than Anderson did in his three years with the Tigers.
However, where Anderson lacked in recruiting, Crean brings just the opposite. He has the ability to bring in blue-chip recruits and if he can gain a foothold on the St. Louis and Columbia AAU scenes he could be very successful for the Tigers.
The important thing for Sterk and Missouri is to find a coach that can recruit within the state. Time and time again we’ve seen recruits leave the Tigers’ backyard in Columbia, for other schools.
The fan base in Columbia will show up, if the team can win games. Right now the basketball program is in a state of shock and there doesn’t seem to be a positive end in site, but a new era of basketball is about to be born in Columbia, Missouri that could turn the program around.
[Featured Image by Chris Coduto/Getty Images]