The University of Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk has asked men's basketball coach Kim Anderson to step down from his position at the end of the season.
The university quickly released a lengthy press release.
"This decision has been very difficult for me personally because of the tremendous respect I have for Kim," Sterk said. "I know how hard he and his staff have worked to turn the program around over the last three years, however, the lack of on-court success has resulted in a significant drop in interest surrounding our program, and we could not afford for that to continue another year.
"Kim has represented our program with character, integrity and class while dedicating himself to developing our student-athletes on and off the basketball court, and we are appreciative of his efforts and dedication to Mizzou and the Columbia community," he added. "Kim will always be a Tiger, and all of us are grateful for his contributions to our University as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach."
Anderson has registered a record of 26-67 at his alma mater and owns a career record of 300-162 heading into this week's Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
He won his 300th career game with the Tigers' 72-52 homecourt victory over Vanderbilt, Feb. 11.
The former Big Eight Player of the Year (1977) made academic achievement a hallmark of his program with Mizzou's latest summer netting nine Tigers with session grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher. During the summer of 2015, Mizzou compiled a team GPA of 3.08. That was the program's highest term mark in more than five years. Its fall 2016 semester mark (2.61) was also the highest for that term in five years, as well.
"Missouri is a special institution to my family and I, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve as the head coach at my alma mater," Anderson said. "While we have faced significant challenges over the last three years and been unable to achieve the on-court results everyone would have liked, I do believe we have been able to stabilize the program while watching our players become responsible young men on and off the court.
"I would especially like to thank my staff and players who have worked so hard to turn this program around," he added. "I'm proud of the growth I've seen in our players academically, athletically and socially since their arrival on campus, and feel very good about our efforts to serve Columbia, the University and the State of Missouri through impactful events and organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Tigers on the Prowl, Rally for Rhyan and the University of Missouri Children's Hospital."
"Missouri has a rich men's basketball tradition and the resources necessary to compete at the highest level," Sterk said. "We expect to compete for Southeastern Conference championships, consistently play in the postseason and continue to represent Mizzou the right way on and off the court.
"A national search will begin immediately to identify and recruit the very best person to lead Mizzou Basketball into the future and we will utilize the services of a search consultant to assist in the identification and evaluation of candidates who are capable of returning our program to national prominence," he added.
Missouri, the 14th seed in the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament, will face 11th-seeded Auburn in a first-round game at Bridgestone Arena, Wednesday, March 8th, at approximately 8:30 p.m.
"In order to protect the integrity of the search, I will have no further public comments regarding the process or the status of any candidates until the announcement of our next head basketball coach is made," Sterk said.
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