The Big 12’s New Faces: Missouri’s Frank Haith

Posted by dnspewak on October 21st, 2011

Frank Haith: The Essentials

  • Previous coaching stop: Miami (FL)
  • Career overview: Assistant coach (1985-2004); head coach at Miami (2004-11)
  • Playing experience: N/A
  • Accolades: ACC Coach of the Year finalist (2007-08)

The Breakdown

Frank Haith isn’t exactly the most popular person in Columbia, Missouri, right now — and he knows it. In his introductory press conference, the new Missouri coach admitted he wasn’t the school’s first choice after finishing 43-69 in ACC play during his six years at Miami.  To make matters worse, he’s now embroiled in the NCAA’s investigation of the Hurricanes. Booster Nevin Shapiro accused him of having knowledge of a $10,000 payment to DeQuan Jones, and he’s pictured at social events with Shapiro.  So that’s been the theme of the 2011 off-season: damage control. Plus, in addition to suffering through a PR nightmare this summer, Haith also just found out this month that his senior forward Laurence Bowers will miss the entire season with an ACL injury.

Frank Haith Walked into a Great Situation at Missouri (Christie Megura)

Welcome to Columbia, coach. Luckily, even without Bowers, Haith has an experienced squad with a real shot at a Big 12 title. Before he cuts down the nets, though, Haith has some work to do. His biggest challenge will be finding a way to adjust Mike Anderson’s players to play a more traditional style. Haith has said he will continue to push the tempo offensively, but he also said he will back off on the all-out pressure defense and will introduce more of a pick-and-roll, inside-oriented offense.  Haith’s personnel could thrive under his system. Point guards Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon might benefit in this offense, and senior Ricardo Ratliffe might be primed for a big year if his guards get him more involved. And with Marcus Denmon and Kim English back in the fold, this is a team that could take off in Haith’s first season.

On the recruiting trail, he’s rounding out his 2012 class and even added notable transfers in Keion Bell (Pepperdine) and Earnest Ross (Auburn). Still, Haith has a lot to prove to Missouri fans. At Miami, he reached just one NCAA Tournament and appeared on the verge of losing his job. MU has given him new life– and if he survives the Miami scandal, he has a heck of an opportunity to succeed in the Big 12.

What They’re Saying

“Missouri is lucky to have Frank represent the university. I am extremely happy for Frank and know that he will do a terrific job there.” 

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 

“I have known Frank Haith for a long time, and I truly believe he is one of the best coaches in the business. Missouri just made a great hire. Frank is one of the primary people responsible for the rise of our program here at Texas. He has all the skills necessary to build a successful program at the highest level … not just one or two good teams, but a program. If there’s one thing that I’ve always appreciated and admired about Frank, it is his confidence. No matter the situation, he knows he can be successful.”

— Rick Barnes, University of Texas

dnspewak (343 Posts)

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