Five days after the Missouri Tigers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, the question in Columbia is not “What will the Tigers do to improve next season?” The question is “Will Mike Anderson coach the Tigers next year?” When looking at the facts and then hearing the sources and rumors, perhaps the question should be “Do the Tigers and their fans want Anderson back next year at the rumored price?”
Conflicting reports have the University of Missouri and the University of Arkansas as the two likely coaching homes for Anderson. Numerous sources and reports have also stated that the University of Missouri is offering coach Mike Anderson a 7 year extension worth $14,000,000. An average salary of $2,000,000 per year would place Anderson amongst, what would be, the top 13 in average salary in men’s college basketball today. Below are the current top coaching salaries today.
- John Calipari (Kentucky) $4,000,000
- Tom Izzo (Michigan State) $3,400,000
- Billy Donovan (Florida) $3,300,000
- Bill Self (Kansas) $3,000,000
- Thad Matta (Ohio State) $2,500,000
- Rick Pitino (Louisville) $2,250,000
- Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) $2,200,000
- Rick Barnes (Texas) $2,200,000
- Roy Williams (North Carolina) $2,000,000
- Bob Huggins (West Virginia) $2,000,000
- Ben Howland (UCLA) $2,000,000
- Sean Miller (Arizona) $2,000,000
This again begs the question is Mike Anderson worth that kind of money?
Anderson coached from 2002-2006 with UAB. In the four seasons with UAB, Anderson’s career was highlighted with an 89-41 overall record and a 42-20 record in Conference USA Play. In 2004 Anderson led UAB to both the Conference USA regular season and conference tournament championships before bowing out in the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. UAB ended the season ranked #23 in the USA Today rankings thus making it the first season in school history that they had finished in the top 25 rankings. Overall in his four seasons at UAB, Anderson led the school to 3 NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance.
In 2006, Mike Anderson took the reigns of a Missouri Tigers basketball team that was in turmoil. The Tigers who had gone 44-47 overall, and 21-27 in the Big 12, in the previous three seasons were looking for a new start after a messy divorce with previous head coach Quin Snyder.
Anderson led the Tigers to a record of 34-28 (13-19 in Big 12) during his first two seasons missing out on the post season tournaments both year. It was in his third season, 2008-2009, that Anderson’s Tigers erupted back onto the scene. The Tigers finished 31-7 (12-4) that season. A 3rd place in the Big 12 regular season, a Big 12 Conference tournament championship, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8, made Anderson a very noticeable coach nationally. After Missouri peaked in 2009, the Tigers have since come back to earth. Each of the last two seasons the Tigers have finished 23-11 with records of 10-6 and 8-8 in Big 12 play, both good for 5th place finishes. The Tigers have had a first and second round elimination in both the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. During the 2010-2011 season that has just concluded for the Tigers, the team lost five of its final six games. A porous defense and apparent lack of discipline took what appeared to be a promising season into a downward spiral and a first round elimination in the NCAA Tourney.
Again, the question resurfaces, does Mike Anderson deserve to be on the aforementioned list of salaries?
Upon reviewing the coaches on this list, every coach, with the exception of Sean Miller (who currently has Arizona in the Sweet 16 of this years tournament), has made a Final 4 appearance, with seven of those coaches making multiple appearances, (Though Calipari’s two appearances were both vacated due to NCAA Violations). Six of the twelve coaches mentioned have won national championships, including three (Krzyzewski, Willams, and Donovan) who have won multiple titles.
Coaches who are not included on this list, due to making less than $2,000,000 per year include Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (2 Final 4’s, 1 National Championship) and Jim Calhoun of Connecticut (3 Final 4’s, 2 National Championships).
When reviewing the facts, there are many Tiger fans who question if a coach with a resume that is not up to par with many of the top coaches, deserves that kind of money. There is no denying that Anderson is a good coach, but, should Missouri pay for what could be down the road over what has been proven thus far? I guess one answer is “Why Not?” Isn’t that what is proven in sports everyday? Just look at the NFL draft if you want proof of sports paying for possibility over proven. If that is a fact that can be used, then yes, Anderson may very well be worth the money. Only time will tell.
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