Spotlight On… Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith

To be Frank Haith or not to be Frank Haith, that is the question.

To Be Frank Haith
Haith is boarding a Mizzou train stocked with experience. When Haith was announced as the head basketball coach, succeeding Mike Anderson, he took over a roster that had six of last season's top scorers returning and 90% of last season's rebounding coming back. Six seniors were expected to log significant playing time and the two other main contributors were Flip Pressey and Mike Dixon, two of the most dynamic players on the team. Unfortunately for Haith, he lost forward Laurence Bowers before the season began, but regardless, he has a boat load of talent coming back and should have the talent to contend for a conference title.

Not To Be Frank Haith
It has been a rough ride for Haith, and the guy hasn't even coached a game at Mizzou yet.

First there was his hire. Mizzou faithful were convinced that Purdue head man Matt Painter was going to leave his alma mater for Columbia. After Painter used Mizzou as leverage for a pay raise, there were many well-known names on Mizzou fans' lips. Shaka Smart and Ben Jacobson were the headliners, but the name nobody was talking about was Haith. During seven years as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Haith amassed a 43-69 conference record - 129-101 overall - and had only been to one NCAA tournament.  Mizzou AD Mike Alden, though, saw potential in Haith (he had a Big 12 background after seven years as an assistant at Texas and Texas A&M) and hired him four days after Painter negged the Tigers. Mizzou fans were stunned.

But not as stunned as they were when the now infamous Yahoo! Sports report came out about purported widespread payments to players at Miami. A report in which Haith was singled out.

Questions that used to swirl about whether Haith would make it past his first season as head coach were now shifted to wonder whether he'd be on the sidelines his first Mizzou game. Since the report, Alden has stepped in and said that Mizzou was cooperating with NCAA investigators and unless they find something concrete, Haith will be Mizzou's coach for the long term.

So on one hand you have a guy coming in with the prospect of a conference championship. On the other hand you have a guy already muddled in controversy. Coach Haith is the only one who can write the end of this story. Mizzou fans are hoping for a fairytale.

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