With Thursday night’s loss to Ole Miss, the Mizzou basketball program can mercifully close the book on the 2016-2017 basketball season. Not just the season, but the tenure of Kim Anderson as head coach as well.
One small consolation is the thrilling ride the Missouri Tigers gave their fans in the first round of the SEC Tournament with a last-second victory over Auburn.
Those flashes of brilliance, however, never made up for the shortcomings in experience Mizzou faced against many teams, or the lack of discipline the team was prone to showing. Simply put, inferior coaching when compared to the rest of the conference.
With the season now in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward to the search for a head coach. As fans have heard, the popular names being bandied about include Tom Crean and Cuonzo Martin. Either would be a great choice for Mizzou basketball as they enter a new era.
The more pressing question right now is whether or not head coach at Missouri is still a top notch job. Is it still possible for the Tigers to attract a big name coach?
A Reputation of Success
You can count Athletic Director Jim Sterk among those that feel the Missouri job is one worth pursuing. In an interview with the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Sterk said as much.
"“The basketball coaches think this is a good job. I think it is, too. From that respect I think it’s an easy sell. Out of the last nine years, six of those have been to the postseason. That’s pretty good. It’s just the last three years that it’s taken a dive.”"
As Sterk stated, Missouri does have a recent history of success. Under head coaches Mike Anderson and Frank Haith, Missouri achieved the following: five NCAA Tournament appearances with one Elite Eight, two Big 12 Tournament Championships, and no fewer than 16 wins in those seasons.
There is definitely a void where Mizzou could assert themselves as a basketball power in the SEC.
The SEC Factor
While a reputation of success is great, there are other reasons as to why coaches would want the Missouri job. For example, the Missouri Tigers are a proud member of the Southeastern Conference. That’s important for multiple reasons.
It places the Tigers squarely in one of the prestigious Power 5 conferences. Even better, Mizzou basketball maintains a presence on the SEC Network enabling the Tigers to sell recruits on the fact that most, if not all, of their games will be televised.
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Another reason why the Missouri head coaching job is desirable is because of the facilities. Mizzou Arena is only 12 years old and has been kept up-to-date since its opening. In 2014, the arena debuted a new scoreboard, upgraded the locker room, and installed a top-of-the-line SEC Network control room under the student seating area.
Most importantly, the SEC is viewed by most as a conference in which the Tigers can compete. No one will argue that the SEC’s bread and butter is football. In fact, that love of football results in most fan bases meeting basketball with pure apathy. The exception to that rule being Kentucky and Florida.
Of course, both of those schools have claimed titles within the past decade, which helps their cause. There is definitely a void where Mizzou could assert themselves as a basketball power in the SEC.
All of these reasons working in unison should help the Tigers to recruit a quality head coach. Not only that, but a head coach who is willing to stay in Columbia for the long haul. After all, Mizzou basketball fans don’t want to find themselves repeating this scenario again three years from now.
KC Kingdom, what do you think? Do you see the Mizzou head coaching job to be a top-notch position? Feel free to discuss below.