FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson was formally introduced to the Razorback Nation on Saturday morning at Bud Walton Arena in a ceremony that included more than 5,000 family, friends and dignitaries.
Following a short introductory video that chronicled the history of Razorback basketball, Anderson stepped out onto the floor of Bud Walton Arena to huge cheers which quickly morphed into the former Razorback assistant coaches’ first Hog Call as the head man.
Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart was the first to speak about Anderson and what it meant to the University of Arkansas to bring home one of its own
"What a great day for the U of A," Gearhart opened with. "When a Razorback wants to come home and the University wants him to come home it is a match made in heaven."
Gearhart’s speech was trailed by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long stepped up to the podium and after thanking the fans for coming out he spoke about the many people who contributed to the hiring process. Long next talked about the process he went through and about Anderson.
"Two weeks ago we set out looking for a leader of our basketball program, a leader of young men," Long said. "Someone who would help our student-athletes grow both on and off the court. Certainly we want to attain NCAA tournament bids, but we also want a leader who understood what the young men get out of our program, that importance of not just winning basketball, but where they can succeed academically and grow as a person. Mike Anderson fits that bill. Mike has had his own success, and certainly we pay a tribute to the past, but Mike Anderson is about the future of Razorback basketball."
Next up was Anderson who opened his Razorback career with a Hog Call and the following words.
"I’ll tell you what, it is great to be a Razorback," Anderson said. "First and foremost, I am happy to be back home; this is home to Mike Anderson. They always say that sometimes say dreams do come true. I am overwhelmed and look forward to leading the Razorbacks back to the top.
"A lot of people that know me can recall that this journey that I am on. It started many years ago when I came to play for Coach Nolan Richardson at the University of Tulsa. I was at Tulsa for five years and in 1985 we came to the University of Arkansas, I had never seen so much passion and energy from the fans. Things started happening and I spent 17 years, my kids were raised here. We had tremendous success."
Anderson continued to speak about the journey that brought him back to the University of Arkansas before taking questions from the media.
The full slate for Arkansas’ newest head coach continued just a couple of hours later when he went to Baum Stadium and threw out the first pitch of Arkansas’ baseball game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.