It's officially official: Mike Anderson is the new head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Leaving the Missouri Tigers probably wasn't easy and the way it went down will leave a sour note in a few folks' mouths.
Anderson didn't tell his players or Mizzou AD Mike Alden until hours after everyone already knew and several days of rumors and speculation. That said, in this day and age, it's nearly impossible to inform your team of what's going on without some reporter some place finding out and tweeting about it. Word gets out quick and I think Anderson underestimated that.
Anderson will be introduced at Arkansas this week but the Razorbacks released a statement on Wednesday night officially announcing the move. Here are Anderson's first words as the Arkansas head coach:
"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."
Arkansas AD Jeff Long was said to be negotiating with Jimmy Sexton, Anderson's agent, for several days. Arkansas is reportedly paying $2 million per year, or even $2.2 million per year, on a seven-year deal. He is of course from Arkansas where he worked under Nolan Richardson, which is why he was welcomed "home" by Arkansas.
"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."
It's disappointing for Mizzou fans, there's no doubt. I think one day they'll be able to look back and realize where this program was when Anderson arrived, and where it is now. It'll take a while to understand Anderson's impact but I think, on the whole, it's been a positive one.