Tulsa has named Frank Haith as its new men’s basketball coach.
Haith decided to leave his position at Missouri after three successful seasons and will replace Danny Manning, who spent two years with the Golden Hurricane and departed earlier this month for the vacancy at Wake Forest.
“What a whirlwind,” said Haith at his introductory news conference Friday. “This happened really quick. When I looked at the Tulsa job and looked at the past at this program — guys like (former coaches) Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith and Bill Self — this is why I took this job.”
Haith guided Missouri to a record of 76-28 with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, but the Tigers missed this year’s NCAA tourney after a record of 23-12. There had been speculation that Haith was looking for a way out at Missouri, which just this week granted Tulsa permission to discuss its position with Haith.
“That was the toughest thing for me, to leave those kids (at Missouri),” Haith said. “It was really tough for me to leave Missouri. I had a great experience there.”
Haith also spent seven seasons as head coach at Miami-Florida. He led the Hurricanes to a record of 129-101, then left for Missouri and almost immediately came under scrutiny for alleged violations at Miami.
Last October, the NCAA issued Haith a five-game suspension as part of sanctions for a booster-related issue. The NCAA determined he failed to meet his responsibilities as a head coach when he did not monitor the activities of his assistant coaches, and attempted to cover up the booster’s threats to disclose incriminating information.
“That was the most taxing time in my career,” said Haith on Friday. “It lasted three years. I take full responsibility for the things that happened under my watch. I served my five games. I wanted to appeal, but we chose not to in order to move forward.”
Haith will take over a program that went 38-29 under Manning and this past season won the Conference USA Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
“We’re looking forward to doing some special things at Tulsa,” Haith added. “Danny and his team won the conference championship last year and our goal is to be a program that wins championships. Tulsa has enjoyed tremendous basketball success over the years and we look forward to continuing that tradition.”
The Golden Hurricane will move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference next season. Haith has experience in that type of transition, as he was the coach at Miami when the Hurricanes left the Big East for the ACC and was also at the helm when Missouri left the Big 12 after his first season and moved into the SEC.