|Mike Anderson bio|
Courtesy: Patrick Pierson
The Razorback Nation welcomed home one of its own on March 23, 2011, when Mike Anderson was named the 12th head men’s basketball coach in Arkansas history. A longtime assistant and associate head coach at Arkansas, Anderson spent nine years as a head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Missouri before returning to the Razorbacks. He is now charged with bringing back the winning tradition that was synonymous with the Razorback program throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s.
One of just 10 current Division I head coaches with 10+ years of experience and no losing seasons, Anderson’s 11 years at the helm of a program have resulted in a 237-125 record, seven 20-win campaigns, six NCAA Tournament appearances, two Sweet 16 berths and a run to the 2009 Elite Eight.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Arkansas,” said Anderson at his introductory press conference held on the court in Bud Walton Arena in front of 5,000 fans. “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.”
Over his first two seasons at Arkansas, Anderson has produced a 37-27 record, but, more importantly, re-established Bud Walton Arena as one of the toughest places to play and brought excitement back to the tradition-rich program. Each of his teams won a program record 17 home games, while the 2012-13 squad posted just the third unbeaten SEC home record (9-0) in program history and the first since 1998. The success on and off the court has translated into fan support, as Arkansas returned to the top 25 in national attendance both years.
Anderson’s ability to change the direction of programs is nothing new. He inherited a program at Missouri that had been sub-.500 for two consecutive years and had the Tigers dancing to the Sweet 16 three years later. He guided Missouri to an overall record of 111-56 (.665) in five years with 13 wins over ranked opponents, four NCAA Tournament victories and a 75-13 mark at home.
Adapting his style of play from his mentor and Hall of Fame coach, Nolan Richardson, Anderson’s teams are known for playing “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.” His up-tempo style and tough defense allowed Missouri to make the biggest turnaround in college basketball during the 2008-09 season when the Tigers went from 16-16 in Anderson’s second season to 31-7 a year later. The turnaround of the Missouri program was not lost on the national analysts as he was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Coach of the Year and the Clair Bee Coach of the Year in 2009 after he led the Tigers to the Big 12 Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Anderson’s “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” has resulted in his team’s ranking among the nation’s elite in multiple statistical categories, while compiling some staggering numbers that have resulted in opponents fearing the up-tempo style of play. Anderson’s clubs have led the nation in steals four times and have been in the top 10 in steals nine of 11 years, while finishing in the top 30 in scoring six times. Since 2002-03, Anderson’s teams have accounted for five of the 25 team totals around the country of 350+ steals in a season, while he has won the turnover battle in 305 of 362 career games.
The influence of “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” has been obvious in Anderson’s two years back in Fayetteville, as the Razorbacks finished second in the nation in 2012-13 in turnover margin (5.5) and ninth in steals (9.2). Arkansas ranked in the top 40 of six different statistical categories last season, while in Anderson’s first year it was 19th in turnover margin (3.3) and 27th in steals (8.3).
Anderson led Missouri to the NCAA Tournament in each of his final three years with the program. His 2008-09 squad marched all the way to the Elite 8, defeating nationally ranked Marquette and Memphis, before falling to Connecticut. He returned the Tigers to the postseason in 2009-10, leading Mizzou to the second round of the tournament and completed the trifecta with a second round exit in 2010-11.
Missouri’s success was due in large part to Anderson and his coaching staff who searched for the best talent available to fill the needs of “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.” That search led to back-to-back Big 12 Newcomers of the Year, Missouri’s first Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year and multiple All-Big 12 honors. Missouri’s 2010 recruiting class was the best in the Big 12 and ranked in the top 10 in the nation by every recruiting service.
Anderson’s first head coaching stop was at UAB where in four years he amassed an 89-41 (.685) record with the Blazers. His teams made four consecutive postseason appearances, including three NCAA Tournament runs and his 2003-04 squad went all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, as it defeated No. 2 Kentucky in the second round.
He was named the Ray Meyer Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2004, after leading the Blazers to an overall record of 22-10 and a share of the league’s regular season championship. UAB’s first round NCAA Tournament victory over Washington was the Blazer’s first since the 1986 season and the Sweet 16 run was the first since the 1980-81 season.
While many believed that UAB would be rebuilding following its run to the Sweet 16, Anderson and his coaches went back to work developing talent and recruiting, and produced a 22-11 record the following year. The Blazers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and defeated SEC Western Division Champion, LSU, in the first round of the Big Dance.
Anderson’s success at both UAB and Missouri made him the ideal candidate to fill Arkansas’ coaching vacancy when it opened. A 10-day search ended when Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long made his hiring official on the evening of March 23.
“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.”
A part of the history and tradition that is Arkansas basketball, Anderson was a volunteer assistant, assistant, recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach over 17 seasons with the Arkansas basketball program with Richardson. During that run, the Razorbacks made 15 post season appearances, five Sweet 16s, four Elite Eights, three Final Fours, finished as national runner-up in 1995 and won the 1994 National Championship.
Anderson was a part of perhaps the greatest run of basketball in Arkansas history as it matched many of the biggest names in the sport in total wins, NCAA Tournament appearances and Final Fours. The Razorbacks won five outright conference championships in his 17 years on the bench, an SEC Western Division title and Arkansas’ only SEC Tournament Championship in 2000.
Anderson’s coaching career began as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Tulsa, where he worked with Richardson for three years before moving to Arkansas. His teams were 69-22 (.758) in those three seasons and earned two NCAA Tournament berths.
He played two seasons for Tulsa after transferring to the Golden Hurricane program from Jefferson (Ala.) Junior College. A two-year starter, Anderson averaged 12 points per game. His hard-nosed play helped Tulsa win the NIT Championship in 1981 and make the NCAA Tournament in 1982. He earned his degree in Education in the spring of ’82 from Tulsa.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Anderson was an All-State and All-City guard at Jackson Olin High School. He averaged 19 points as a senior and took his team to the state semifinals as a junior.
Anderson and his wife Marcheita have three children; Darcheita (husband Keith), Michael Jr., and Yvonne and four grandchildren, Aiyanna, Mikayla, Laila and Anderson Keith. Michael Jr., played for his father at Missouri and Yvonne was the Missouri High School Player of the Year in 2008, and played at Texas.