Anderson brings Missouri staff to Razorbacks
Just yesterday, new Razorbacks Head Basketball Coach Mike Anderson announced who will round out his staff next year.
While some have been quick to point out that Anderson imported his Missouri staff, here’s what’s striking about tho will be coaching the Hogs next year — a lot of those cats have substantial ties to Arkansas. In fact, it might be argued at least a couple of them have come back home to Arkansas and — what’s more — they’re coming from an era to which a lot of Razorbacks fans would like to see the team return.
Specifically, the coaches that have followed Anderson from Missouri are Associate Head Coach Melvin Watkins, Assistant Coach Matt Zimmerman, Assistant Coach T.J. Cleveland, Director of Operations Jeff Daniels and Strength and Conditioning Coach David Deets. A few of those names are very familiar to Razorbacks fans.
First of all, there’s Anderson. Yes, he was head coach at Missouri from 2006 until last month when he agreed to take over as head coach for John Pelphrey a Arkansas, but he was an assistant under former Razorbacks Head Coach Nolan Richardson for 17 years. It was during those years that Arkansas basketball hit its peak — Richardson’s team won the only NCAA basketball championship in 1994 and was runner up in 1995, having lost to UCLA.
Anderson’s place in Razorbacks history should make it easier for him to establish a rapport with the fans that was missing with both former coaches Stan Heath and John Pelphrey. Heath and Pelphrey were both regarded as outsiders and never quite shook that label. Anderson doesn’t have that problem.
Then, of course, you’ve got Cleveland. He was a Razorbacks basketball player from 1998-2002 and was instrumental in helping the team secure an SEC championship in 2000. It’s hard to regard him as an outsider, indeed.
The same goes for Zimmerman, a former Razorbacks team manager who graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1990, spent some time coaching high school teams in Dardanelle and Plainview-Rover high schools here in Arkansas.
Another person who can’t be overlooked is Director of Student-Athlete Director Scotty Thurman, who came to Arkansas last year. Remember him? Thurman is the guy who threw up that three-pointer that secured Arkansas’ victory over Duke in the last 53 seconds of that NCAA championship game in 1994.
Considering the staff Anderson has, one thing becomes very clear. Razorbacks fans have been howling for that hurry-up “40 minutes of hell” style of play for which Richardson was known for years. Anderson and his staff know that style more than perhaps anyone.
Hiring Anderson to replace Pelphrey is one of those moves that looks very smart, indeed.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.