OPINION: Missouri Coach Deserves Better

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With all of the talk about Coach John Calipari ditching Memphis for greener pastures at the University of Kentucky, another major move in college basketball has gone virtually unnoticed.

Missouri basketball head coach Mike Anderson reached a deal with his current team and signed a new seven-year contract worth a reported $1.3 million to $1.5 million per year. Anderson made just $850,000 last year.

While the contract is nice, it should be noted that Anderson turned down $2.1 million per year in annual salary to coach the Georgia Bulldogs next season. While you certainly can’t blame him for choosing the prestige of Mizzou basketball over that of Georgia’s virtually nonexistent program, the money lost in doing so was substantial.

Moving past the money and what not, my biggest question is why wasn’t Mike Anderson sought after by more prestigious basketball programs? His basketball resume certainly would suggest that he is worth it. He just took a Mizzou team predicted to finish 7th in the Big 12 to a second-place regular season finish and a Big 12 Tournament Championship. Not to mention, he just knocked off the aforementioned Calipari to advance to the Elite 8 in this year’s NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.

Before anyone gets all wound up, I’m not suggesting he wasn’t offered more prestigious opportunities because Anderson is black. College basketball, and basketball and general, has been one of the most progressive sports in terms of dealing with race, having embraced black culture at the core of its business model (exploitation or otherwise). In addition, of all the schools that did offer him a coaching job, it came from Georgia: member of the SEC and essentially the personification of the old-white boys club. So I’m not crying wolf here—at least not on college basketball’s dime.

I will call attention to the media though. They haven’t exactly given Mike Anderson much love. This man has done a remarkable job all season, having beaten Texas, Oklahoma, USC, California, and Kansas. That’s more quality teams beaten than Calipari has beaten this season, yet Calipari gets all of the publicity, and he is essentially dubbed a better coach. Which he has been in most years—just not this year.

So while the media pushes Calipari on you as the next Adolph Rupp of Kentucky basketball, look out for a basketball coach by the name of Mike Anderson making a name for himself at Mizzou. Maybe, just maybe, his team will continue to outclass Calipari’s teams—just as he has 2 of the last 3 times he’s gone head to head with Calipari’s “superior” Memphis teams.

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