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New Mizzou men's basketball coach knows he has a lot to prove

April 05, 2011|by Joe Hickman, KY3 News |

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Frank Haith was formally introduced to Mizzou nation on Tuesday as the new head men's basketball coach.  Within a few minutes, the 45-year-old coach addressed the fact that he knows he isn't the most popular choice.

"Mike told me that everyone would love me," Haith joked in referring to athletic director Mike Alden, who led the search committee.  "But, Mike, you lied to me.  Everybody don't love me yet.  But that's okay, because I don't look at all the negativity I've been hearing so far as a negative; I view it as a positive.  I like that passion because I want to win. I want to cut down nets."

Haith had a 129-101 record in seven seasons at Miami.  His teams went to the National Invitational Tournament five years and to the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament only once.  

The Hurricanes never finished higher than fifth in the ACC during his tenure there.  Miami was 21-15 this season with an NIT berth that included a first-round victory over Missouri State.


Haith, whose extensive background as an assistant coach included time at Texas, where he became known as a great recruiter, explained that his record at Miami is deceiving because the Hurricanes program was discontinued for a while and the school had no history of success to work when he arrived there.

"Would I liked to have won more games there?" Haith said.  "Sure, but I am proud of what we accomplished."

Haith pointed out that 21 of 22 seniors at Miami graduated during his tenure, and told the Missouri players during a meeting that, "if you allow me to be a part of your life, you'll find out that I'm a pretty good guy."

Haith said that he was willing to adapt his style of play to his personnel, but pointed out his Tigers team would need to improve defensively.  He also pointed out the importance of recruiting in-state athletes but stressed that "we can and will recruit nationally."

"I don't call it recruiting. I call it developing relationships," he said.

Haith He said he had already started working on filling the three scholarships available and that the Tigers needed to get help at the center position.  He also said he expected the team roster to remain as it is, that despite speculation that some players might possibly follow Anderson to Arkansas.

Overall, Mizzou's new coach came across as confident and witty.  In mentioning that he had been in the business for almost 25 years, he commented, "I know you didn't think I was that old.  I can tell ya'll were thinking that."  And when asked why fans should have faith that he can get the job done, he replied, "Faith in Haith. I like that."

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