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The Start of The Kim Anderson Era

When I first saw Kim Anderson’s name mentioned as a serious candidate a week ago by ESPN’s Andy Katz, I had the same reaction as my University of Missouri Journalism School counterpart Gabe DeArmond did: Mike Alden was floating the story to Katz to let the old guard around Missouri know (or think) that Anderson was in the mix…but it was nothing more than a little p.r. play to keep “the base” happy.

Gabe posted that opinion on PowerMizzou.com, and I couldn’t have agreed more.

However, the next morning, I saw he posted again…and this time said he was wrong…and that the Anderson story was for real.

I still didn’t believe it.

I still thought there was no way a man who had been passed over three different times---if he was ever really even considered at all in 1999, 2006, and 2011---was going to get the job 15 years after Norm Stewart and Alden broke up.

And, honestly, up until my phone made that little email noise, and I saw the email release from the University yesterday at 3 p.m., I didn’t think Anderson was going to get the job.

Like it or not…surprised by it or not…Kim Anderson is the new Missouri Head Basketball Coach.

No matter what the motives for the hire---if there were any political aspects to this at all on the part of Mike Alden---Kim Anderson is the new Missouri Head Basketball Coach.

In a matter of two weeks time, the former Head Coach left for Tulsa…and the new Head Coach came from Warrensburg.

This scenario isn’t old school shit. This is batshit.

But, now that it’s really happened, I have to say that I’m happy about it.

Much like Missouri used to be considered a political bellwether state because of its location and demographics, I’m similar in this debate amongst the pro-Anderson and anti-Anderson crowds. I’m in the middle on the location and the demographics. I was born and raised in the City of St. Louis, but I attended the University of Missouri. I’m old enough to remember Anderson as an assistant to Norm Stewart, but I’m young enough to know that those born in the 1980’s or later may not know (or care) about the Stewart Era…much less his coaching staff.

But, my bet---or maybe it’s better described as my hope---is that Anderson’s passion for this job…for this opportunity…will transcend the generational gaps.
Sincerity is not an old-school trait. Hell, it’s so rare, it could be considered counterculture, and therefore, fashionable.

In the late 1990’s, when I was a student at the University of Missouri and covering the basketball team, Anderson was one of the friendliest and most down-to-earth people you’d come across. He would always go out of his way to say, “Hello, Tim” when he’d see me, and I was a lowly student reporter.

Now, I assure you that my intrigue in this surprising hire and being happy about it isn’t because Kim Anderson knew my name in 1999 when Norm Stewart scared the hell out of me.

It’s because I can buy in. It’s because I believe he’ll do right by the program. And it’s because there’s something to be said for getting to witness a good man live out his dream job at 58 years-old.

I don’t subscribe to the thinly-veiled bigoted bullshit of some of the things I read or hear that his teams will “play hard”…or “the right way”…or with “no thuggery.”

You could hire the hologram of Tupac and all of those things would improve from what we’ve seen over the last few months of Missouri basketball.

So, while that may be going on in some corners of the Missouri fan base, that’s not the reason why I’m intrigued by the hire and really pulling for Kim Anderson.

It’s because unlike his three predecessors, I believe this job means the world to Kim Anderson, and he’s going to do his damnedest to deliver.

It may not work out, and there’s no question the cupboard isn’t exactly full, but for the first time in a long time, I, as a fan, feel like I can watch a game and not wonder if the coach is cheating, covering something up, or just using Columbia as a pit stop on his way to the NBA, Fayetteville, or…Tulsa.

Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

 

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Mike in South City
# Mike in South City
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:28 AM
good column!

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