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It’s official — Mike Anderson is a Razorback (again)

By: 23 March 2011 No Comment

After a day full of speculation, the University of Arkansas announced Wednesday night that Mike Anderson will succeed John Pelphrey as the Razorbacks’ head basketball coach.

Actually, we’ve had close to two weeks of speculation about who would replace Pelphrey. Anderson, of course, is a fascinating choice in that he was an assistant coach for the only Razorbacks basketball team to win an NCAA championship (that was back in 1994 when the Hogs knocked of a heavily favored Duke team) and one can’t help but wonder if the new coach will return to the frantic “40 minutes of hell” style what was one of the defining traits of that team.

You can read the entire press release from the UA here announcing the arrival of its new coach or simply scroll down and read the “cut and paste” version.

FAYETTEVILLE – Mike Anderson has been named the University of Arkansas’ head men’s basketball coach it was announced by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long on Wednesday.

In nine seasons as a collegiate head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) and most recently at the University of Missouri , Anderson has amassed a career record of 200-98, earning 20 wins in a season seven times and leading his teams to the NCAA Tournament in six of his nine seasons as a head coach.

“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. 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’s teams are known for their fast paced aggressive style labeled as “The Fastest 40 Minutes in College Basketball.”  That style of play was adapted from his mentor, former Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson, whose teams at Arkansas laid the claim to “40 Minutes of Hell.”  While similar in nature, Anderson’s style is his own and has allowed his teams at UAB and Missouri to post nine-consecutive non-losing seasons, a career winning percentage of .671 and Missouri’s first-ever Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship.

Over the last three seasons at Missouri, Anderson’s teams have won 77 games and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament including a run to the Elite 8 in 2008-09.  In that season, he was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Coach of the Year, the Clair Bee Coach of the Year and was credited with leading the Tigers to the biggest turnaround in college basketball with 15 additional wins from the previous season.

“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.”

Anderson’s record after his five-year stint at Missouri was a combined 111-56 (.665) and included 13 wins over ranked opponents, four NCAA Tournament victories and a 75-13 record at home.  This season, the Tigers ranked No. 2 in the nation in steals per game (9.7) and turnover margin (5.4), 10th in the country in scoring offense (80.8) and among the top 30 in four other categories (scoring margin, assists per game, assist-turnover ratio, blocked shots per game).  Three Missouri players were named to one of the Big 12 all-conference teams while junior college transfer Ricardo Ratliffe was tabbed as the Newcomer of the Year.

“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.”

Prior to taking the Missouri position before the 2006-07 season, Anderson spent four years in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., rebuilding the UAB program.  He compiled an 89-41 (.685) record including four trips to the postseason during that time.  His final three seasons with the Blazers, Anderson guided his team to the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet 16 in 2003-04.

Arkansas fans know Anderson mostly for his time spent in Fayetteville where he was both a part-time assistant and assistant head coach to Richardson and the Razorback program for 17 seasons.  During his time in the Ozarks, the Razorbacks compiled a record of 390-170 (.696) and made 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament, won the 1994 National Championship, finished as the 1995 national runner-up, played in three Final Fours and had 12 20-win seasons.

Anderson’s coaching career began as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Tulsa, where he worked with Richardson for three years prior to moving to Arkansas.  His teams were 69-22 (.758) in those three seasons and earned two NCAA Tournament berths.  As a player, Anderson was a two-year starter for the Golden Hurricane and averaged 12 points per game.  His hard-nosed play helped Tulsa win the NIT Championship in 1981 and make the NCAA Tournament in 1982.  He earned his degree in Education in the spring of ’82 from Tulsa.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., Anderson was an all-state and all-city guard at Jackson Olin High School.  He averaged 19 points as a senior and took his team to the state semifinals as a junior.

Mike Anderson Coaching History
March 23, 2011 – Head Coach – Arkansas
2006-11 – Head Coach – Missouri
2002-06 – Head Coach – Alabama-Birmingham
1985-02 – Assistant Head Coach/Part-Time Assistant – Arkansas
1982-85 – Volunteer Assistant Coach – Tulsa

Head Coaching Records
Missouri

2010-11 – 23-10 (.697) – NCAA First Round
2009-10 – 23-11 (.676) – NCAA Second Round
2008-09 – 31-7 (.816) – NCAA Elite 8, Big 12 Tournament Champions
2007-08 – 16-16 (.500)
2006-07 – 18-12 (.600)

Alabama-Birmingham
2005-06 – 24-7 (.774) – NCAA First Round
2004-05 – 22-11 (.667) – NCAA Second Round
2003-04 – 22-10 (.688) – NCAA Sweet 16, C-USA regular season co-champions
2002-03 – 21-13 (.618) – NIT Quarterfinals

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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