Mike Anderson agreed to be the new coach at Arkansas on Wednesday. Missouri players and Director of Athletics, Mike Alden, met with the media late Wednesday evening to talk about the news and the steps moving forward for Missouri basketball.
“I am extremely excited to once again be a part of this special University and Razorback Athletics,” Anderson said in a statement released by the school. “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.”
Anderson had been the coach at Missouri since 2006. He was an assistant at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson from 1985-2002. Anderson arrived in Columbia from Tulsa, OK (where he was attending a funeral) on Wednesday evening and addressed the players and notified them at that time that he had accepted the Arkansas job.
Missouri’s Director of Athletics Mike Alden broke the timeline down and said it was just on Tuesday evening that the school first received a call from a representative of Mike Anderson who asked for permission to speak about a job opening. However, Anderson personally called Alden Wednesday to ask for permission as well.
AUDIO: Mike Alden’s timeline of events 16 min
Alden said he has a great amount of respect for Anderson as a person and while he explored if there were opportunities to keep Anderson at Missouri, he said ultimately it came down to Anderson’s strong desire to return to a place where he had a long history and great memories.
Alden acknowledged that the board of curators had approved a pay raise that would have given Anderson essentially a seven year deal at $2 million per year, but then Alden said once Anderson asked for permission to explore the Arkansas opportunity, the Missouri offer was taken off the table.
Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon and Kim English sat next to Alden and while they said they all understood why Anderson made the move for personal reasons, they were all obviously hurt by his decision. They each had their own personal reasons. Bowers said he has known Anderson for most of his life and Denmon looked especially hurt, because just days ago he went to personally talk to Anderson and was told he was staying.