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 decades of the '80s and '90s.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named the head men's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas," Anderson said. "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 the past five years, Anderson was the head coach at Missouri where he inherited a program 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) 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 pundits 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 8.
Anderson's teams are regulars among the nation's elite in several statistical categories and his up-tempo game plan keeps opponents and fans alike on their toes. The 2010-11 Missouri Tigers ranked No. 2 in the nation in steals per game (9.7) and turnover margin (5.4), 10th in the country in scoring offense (80.8) and among the top 30 in four other categories (scoring margin, assists per game, assist-turnover ratio, blocked shots per game).
Anderson guided 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 before falling to Connecticut and along the way defeated nationally ranked Marquette and Memphis. He returned the Tigers to the post season 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 is 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.
Now known as a builder of programs, 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 post season appearances including three NCAA Tournament runs and his 2003-04 squad went all the way to the Sweet 16 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 that season was the Blazer's first since the 1986 season and the Sweet 16 run was a first since the 1981 UAB 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 Southeastern Conference 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 8s, three Final Fours, finished as National runner-up in 1995 and won the NCAA Tournament in 1994.
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, won an SEC Western Division title as well as Arkansas' only SEC Tournament Championship in 2000.
Anderson's coaching career began as a volunteer assistant coach 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 four children; Darcheita (husband Keith), Michael Jr., Yvonne and Suney and four grandchildren, Aiyanna, Mikayla, Kaila and Anderson Keith. Michael Jr., is a recent graduate of Missouri where he played for his father and Yvonne is a junior point guard at the University of Texas and was the Missouri High School Player of the Year in 2008.