Home Sweet Home
FAYETTEVILLE - Former Missouri head coach Mike Anderson is the new head basketball coach at Arkansas after signing a 7-year, $2.2 million dollar contract on Wednesday.
Anderson, a former 17-year assistant to Nolan Richardson at Arkansas, has led 7 of his 9 teams at UAB and Missouri to over 20 wins and has an overall record of 201-99 as a head coach.
Razorback athletic director Jeff Long officially announced the hire on Wednesday night, when Arkansas' 1994 national championship game win over Duke - which Anderson was an assistant on - just happened to be replaying on ESPN Classic.
"We are extremely excited to welcome home Mike Anderson to the University of Arkansas as our new head men's basketball coach," Long said. "Mike is one of the outstanding head coaches in college basketball. His teams play an exciting brand of basketball that has already proven successful at both UAB and Missouri.
"Under Mike's leadership, I am confident the Razorbacks will be successful in the future on and off the court," Long added. "The decision to hire Mike Anderson as head coach is based on my firm belief that he is the right person to lead the Razorback program today and in the years to come."
Anderson, who met with his Missouri team on Wednesday night, officially accepted the job after the day started attending the Tulsa funeral of long-time friend Jim Pharr.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named the head men's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas," Anderson said. "I want to thank Chancellor (Dave) Gearhart and Athletic Director Jeff Long for this opportunity to lead the Razorback Basketball program. I am extremely excited to once again be a part of this special University and Razorback Athletics. With the continued passionate support of all Razorback fans, I am confident that we will have the opportunity to succeed on and off the court and continue to build on the University of Arkansas' championship tradition."
The Razorback Foundation - the fundraising arm of Arkansas athletics - met on Wednesday morning to approve funding for the deal.
Anderson's deal means he now is one of 12 head coaches to make over $2 million and actually his deal puts him ahead of North Carolina's Roy Williams (2.11) and Texas' Rick Barnes (2.0).
According to Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, Anderson called him Tuesday night to request permission to speak to Arkansas.
Alden asked him to sleep on it, but granted that permission at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and then pulled Anderson's proposed Missouri extension off of the table - albeit it was clear he was headed to Arkansas at that point.
Anderson then agreed to the deal with Arkansas, informed Missouri of his resignation at 6:45 p.m. and met with the Tiger players at 7.
Missouri player Lawrence Bowers, the nephew of former Razorback guard Arlyn "Truck" Bowers, noted that it was a tough decision for Anderson, but that he considered Arkansas home.
"He was happy," Bowers said. "You always want someone to be happy. You do what's best for you. Going to Arkansas was what's best for Coach Anderson.
Fellow Missouri players Kim English and Marcus Denmon said they could tell that being at Arkansas for 17 years really meant something to Anderson.
"I don't feel Coach Anderson would have left here for any place other than Arkansas," Denmon said.
Anderson was head coach at UAB for four years and has been at Missouri the past five years.
He was also 1-1 in 2002 as interim head coach at Arkansas, taking over for Richardson a regular season home win over Vanderbilt and an SEC Tournament loss.
"I would like to thank Athletic Director Mike Alden, Chancellor Brady Deaton and Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton for their support during my five years at the University of Missouri," Anderson said. "I am also grateful to the student-athletes, coaches, staff, students and the Tiger fans that were a part of helping us bring winning basketball back to the University of Missouri. Together, we enjoyed tremendous success. My family and I will always be thankful for the opportunity we had to be at the University of Missouri."
A press conference announcing the hire has not been scheduled as of yet, but could come as late as Saturday.
The contract reportedly includes a $1 million buyout.
Anderson replaces John Pelphrey, who will be paid $1.8 million over the next three seasons unless he gets a job somewhere else and then his salary will be deducted from the buyout.
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