40 Minutes of Hell Redux
It should come as no surprise that Mike Anderson chose to leave Missouri and return to Arkansas to become the school's next head coach. After spending 17 years in Fayetteville as an assistant to Nolan Richardson, Anderson is going home to take over a program that really needs him. The Razorbacks have never been the same since they fired Richardson nine years ago. They have only been back to the NCAA Tournament three times since 2002, and both Stan Heath and John Pelphrey were never able to approach the success Nolan had (9 consecutive trips to the Big Dance and a National Championship in 1994). Anderson will bring back the "40 Minutes of Hell" that Richardson made famous and Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long gets his man.
Many people will criticize Anderson for playing two schools against each other in order to negotiate the best offer possible. Missouri was negotiating a new contract extension with Anderson that would have paid him an extra $500,000 annually and bumped up his annual salary to $2 million per season. Arkansas offered him similar money to leave Missouri and Anderson couldn't resist going back to Fayetteville. Even though his decision left a bad taste in the mouth of Missouri fans, why shouldn't he take an opportunity to land his dream job? I have no problem with coaches using one school in order to receive a bigger payday from another institution. That's the American way! Let's face it, the days of loyalty are long gone. There are exceptions, like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who has reiterated he will not leave the school for the Lakers job in the NBA. When you are a college coaching legend like Coach K, why risk your legacy on a chance to coach in the NBA? He's already led an NBA All Star Team (also known as Team USA) to the gold medal in the Olympic games, so there's nothing more for him to prove. Coach K has always had his dream job in Durham, North Carolina and now Mike Anderson finally gets his wish.