For about two hours the MU Board of Curators, along with MU President Elson Floyd and Chancellor Brady Deaton, met in a closed session on Sunday to presumably discuss whether or not Mike Alden should continue as Athletic Director. Of the nine curators, only Don Walsworth was present, with the other eight joining via teleconference. After the meeting broke, Deaton rushed past reporters indicating only that Mike Alden was still the Athletic Director.
Spokesperson Joe Moore commented briefly. He said that no votes were taken and that for now, Alden is still the AD at MU. Beyond that, he had no further comment. Floyd did not address the media.
Alden’s performance has come into question since the resignation of Quin Snyder. Alden asked special assistant Gary Link to talk to Snyder to see if he wanted to continue as head coach. That Alden didn’t talk to Snyder directly, has been a point of contention. Alden also informed Link that Floyd, Deaton and Walsworth had all agreed that Snyder should be fired. All three denied that claim. Alden assumed that since all three were aware that expectations placed on Snyder’s performance weren’t being met, that they would be on board with the decision.
Sunday was supposed to be a day for Alden to shine, as the university introduced new head basketball coach Mike Anderson. It’s a hire that many agree with and appears to be a step in the right direction for MU and Alden. The official reason for the meeting was never officially disclosed, though it is widely believed that Alden’s future was the topic of conversation.
Alden didn’t want to speculate on whether it was standard operating procedure for the Board of Curators to have a special closed session on the same day that a new coach was being hired, saying “I wouldn’t be in a position to say whether that’s normal or not normal.”
When asked if he inquired about what went on in the meeting, Alden indicated that it wasn’t a point of discussion between he and Deaton in the moments leading up to Mike Anderson’s introductory press conference.
“We didn’t have a chance to talk about that, nor did I ask him about it,” Alden said.
Since the resignation, more confusion and speculation has arisen. Last week Alden allegedly dismissed both Link and Jon Sunvold from a search committee to find a new basketball coach. Alden addressed that issue on Sunday, saying it could be boiled down to a misinterpretation by the media.
“No one was dismissed from our committee and I don’t know, necessarily, where that came from.” Alden said. “We had a search committee and screening committee of five people and those people were charged to be able to identify the qualities of the coaches that we were looking for.” Once the list of those candidates was complete, the job was apparently over. Alden indicated that both Link and Sunvold did a good job.
Whether right or wrong, the public ire from that incident eventually came out in the form of former head coach Norm Stewart, who suggested that Alden be fired in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Friday. When asked to comment on those comments, Alden said, “With regards to any responses to perhaps any comments (from Stewart), I really don’t have any. I just continue to have a very high regard for coach Stewart.”
But the man Alden hired is more supportive. “I’m a Mike Alden guy,” Mike Anderson said on Sunday. “I just see some great things, some great days ahead and it’s gonna be under the leadership of Mike Alden.”