The Missouri Tigers coaching search could go be going better. Last week the Tigers moved on from previous head coach Mike Anderson after he strung AD Mike Alden and the rest of the fans along for a few days before deciding to leave and head to Arkansas.
The Anderson saga left a bad taste in a lot of fans mouths because it seems, at least on the outside, that Anderson simply used Mizzou as leverage to secure the best deal at Arkansas. Whether that's accurate or not, that's the perception. Alden had a contract offer on the table to keep him but once Anderson requested permission to speak with Arkansas, the offer was pulled.
The Matt Painter saga is similar in that Mizzou fans were strung along for several days and at one point thought they had a strong shot at getting Painter. In fact, several reports indicated as late as Wednesday afternoon that Painter was coming to Mizzou. These were both reports from outlets covering Mizzou so, assuming no one was simply making anything up, there were probably people at Mizzou who thought Painter was coming. Of course everyone knows by now those outlets were wrong and Painter decided to stay at Purdue with a nice raise.
So it's been a rough couple of weeks for Mizzou fans. AD Mike Alden is leading the charge on hiring coaches so he's the man to look to in situations like this. I think you can be frustrated about the whole situation or bittersweet that he went after a big fish and didn't get it.
On the one hand, I think you have to be frustrated that Mizzou's coaching search has been so public and blown up in their face twice -- trying to retain Anderson and then pursuing Painter. I don't remember many stories that had so many reporters thinking one way only to see it go the other way. People in the Mizzou program apparently love to talk and it's making them look bad, in my opinion. My suggestion, though it would make things less entertaining, would be to shut down the leaky sources. The Anderson and Painter situations aren't as bad if we don't have a play-by-play of it all on Twitter.
On the other hand, I think you have to respect that Alden went after a big fish. I mean, a Big 10 alum from his own school? That's a serious fish and it got far enough that whatever sources the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KOMU had thought Painter was coming to Mizzou. That tells me that Alden nearly got the job done. I like that he courted Painter and that he came close to getting him. Sure, it didn't work out but I think it comforts Mizzou fans a little to know that Alden is willing to make a splash.
Personally, I'm fine with Alden's methods. I like that he aimed high even though he didn't get it. But whoever is leaking the blow-by-blow of the search to reporters is making the school look like a fool (and, as several outlets learned, making the reporters look like a fool). It's OK to aim high and perhaps leak the news of who you're looking at but there's no reason to let everything get out. He needs to find where that's coming from and zip it.
Now, Mizzou sits without a coach and their timeline screwed up. Previously, the Tigers wanted to hire a coach before the Final Four but with Painter bowing out, that won't happen. So they'll now look to the Final Four as their own coaching convention.