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April 4, 2011
A wild day ended with exactly the news that most were reporting last night. Frank Haith is in as Missouri's new basketball coach. Haith's contract was approved by the University's Board of Curators in an executive session on Monday night. The deal is for six years and a guaranteed $1.5 million per year.
Athletic director Mike Alden ran through his seven requirements for the job he set forth when Mike Anderson left less than two weeks ago. He mentioned Haith's graduation of 21 of 22 players at Miami. More importantly, he mentioned the ability to recruit, mentioning specifically the three available scholarships in the 2011 class and six more in 2012.
"That's a lot of recruiting that is gonna need to take place. You needed to make sure you were identifying someone that could hit the ground running. National connections, Big 12 connections and to be able to move us forward," Alden said. "We had to have someone that had a familiarity with the footprint of the Big 12, as well as the ability to attract national recruits. Frank Haith has done that."
Haith has recruited six McDonald's all-Americans in his career at different stops.
But it is a different number that has drawn the attention of Tiger fans since news of the hire broke less than 24 hours ago. Specifically, Haith's middling 129-101 record, including a 43-69 mark in ACC play.
"Certainly, he has had some success at Miami and he's going to have a lot more success at Missouri," Alden said. "When you identify people, you have to privde them with tools. That is one thing we have at Mizzou is we have outstanding tools. That isn't always the case and I don't think that necessarily was the case for Frank (at Miami). When he comes here to have access to that with his skill set, we believe that he's gonna win at a very high level."
The Tigers' search that began ten days ago and took a very public detour through a flirtation with Purdue's Matt Painter ended with the Tigers hiring a guy who had appeared on no one's list throughout the process other than, apparently, Alden's.
"We were out to look at all options that were out there," Alden said. "Throughout the process, that name, for us, Frank Haith, has always been there."
Alden would not comment on other candidates, but said that Haith was the only coach he offered the job to. He said that discussions heated up and the search focused in on Haith Friday before the decision was made to offer the job on Sunday night. That decision had to be put before the Board of Curators for approval. Per University rules, there is a 24-hour waiting period before the Curators can give that approval.
Throughout the day, there was some doubt whether that would happen. Curator David Wasinger in particular said the board would have some questions for Alden about the hire and even stated "it is 50/50" whether it would be approved.
"I really don't think it's appropriate for me to respond to other people's comments," Alden said. "Our confidence level in what we're doing and the support from our leadership is terrific."
Haith flew into Columbia on Monday night, arriving shortly after 7 p.m. He will have his introductory press conference at Mizzou Arena at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. PowerMizzou.com will have complete coverage throughout the day.
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