Time For Missouri Fans to Panic -- Mike Anderson Going to Memphis?

Mar 31, 2009 at 1:54 pm
All along through the tournament run that Mizzou just made, I would constantly hear from people, "Oh, Anderson's gone. Kentucky is going to snatch him up." 

But Kentucky wasn't going to take Mike Anderson. I thought they would go for a bigger name, a splashy move that makes bold headlines all over the country. I thought they would try to poach Billy Donovan away from Florida. Maybe even a guy like Jim Boeheim from Syracuse. Most of all, though, I always thought that John Calipari was going to be the guy. He's got all the qualifications; track record of success, certainly a big-name coach, could bring in half of a great recruiting class with him, history with the university, all of it. Mike Anderson is perfectly safe, I thought; Calipari is likely going to be the guy. 

Well, it looks now like I was probably right about Calipari being the guy for Kentucky. Unfortunately, it also looks like I forgot a little something in my assessment: the school that loses their coach is going to need a coach.

One of those tiny little details that never seems all that vital until it jumps up and bites you in the ass, you know? It just didn't even occur to me that after Calipari (or hell, one of the other candidates), bolts for Kentucky, there's going to be a powerhouse college basketball job that still needs to be filled. 

And so now, it certainly looks like Missouri fans have pretty serious reason to panic. There is a very real possibility that Mike Anderson is going to be coaching somewhere other than Columbia for the 2009-2010 basketball season. 

Of course, there is still some real debate over whether or not Calipari is going to leave Memphis; he has as cherry a gig as you're going to find in all of college basketball, to be honest.

He has a remarkable record there, a fan base with some actual patience, as opposed to the rabid mob always ready to form a lynching party that populates Lexington, the full support of the Memphis athletic department, and little enough media scrutiny that his, um, less desirable qualities are routinely overlooked.

Of course, Memphis is Memphis, and this, well, this is Kentucky. Calipari is a very, very ambitious guy, and Kentucky basketball is the biggest of big stages. Personally, I don't think there's any way he doesn't take the job, and the $35 million they're offering him won't even be the biggest reason. 

And that most definitely leaves the University of Memphis looking for a basketball coach. Who better than the last coach to lead a Conference USA team to a win over a Calipari squad? Oh, and he's also the coach who, just beat Memphis in the NCAA tournament, and whose Missouri team, by the way, became the first team to ever -- ever! -- score 100 points off a John Calipari Memphis club. Anderson would seem to be a perfect fit in Memphis; his scheme is similar to Calipari's, so there would be minimal disruption, and the game plan would work with the personnel already in place. 

So am I worried about Mike Anderson leaving Missouri? You bet your ass I am. Even if he doesn't leave for Memphis, there's the specter of the Georgia coaching job floating around as well. 

It's sad, too, because the Missouri job is one that, given enough time, could become one of those jobs that a coach just doesn't leave. Unfortunately, for that to happen, it would probably require Mike Anderson to stay quite a few more years and build it into that sort of job. Let's put it this way: five more years of Anderson, and you might get fifteen more years of Anderson. Right now, though, you very well could get Quin Snyder again. 

So Tiger fans, you may want to start panicking right now. At least a little bit.