Mike Anderson New Hogs Basketball Coach. One Fan Threatens To Burn His Tickets in Protest!
Mike Anderson, who served as Nolan Richardsons' assistant at Arkansas for 17 seasons, has been named head coach of the University of Arkansas Men's Basketball Team.
Since the announcement yesterday afternoon, the fans reaction has been mixed. Browsing the message boards, I noticed one poster announcing he'd be burning his season tickets to next years basketball games at Bud Walton Arena in protest of the hiring. Other fans are jubilant, cheering the return of "40 minutes of Hell" to Arkansas.
I'm not selling the tickets, Ill get them every year, walk out to the grill, light it and throw them on there and that will be that. - Message Board Poster
My take... I've always liked Mike Anderson. I've met him on several occasions over the years and there's no doubt that he is a solid basketball coach and a really good guy. His style of basketball, a spin off of Nolans' fast paced "40 Minutes of Hell", is fun to watch and he will get the most out of his players. So, it's definitely not a bad hire for the UA. Whether he'll be able to take the Hogs back to national prominence, however, is debatable.
The short term outlook is positive. Despite the anonymous message board posters' threat to burn his season tickets, It's a safe bet to say attendance at Bud Walton will be up significantly for the next couple of seasons. Coach A is inheriting quite a bit of talent (although there are rumblings that some of the Hogs key players are threatening to transfer), and if he can keep Pels highly ranked recruiting class in tact, the Hogs should be competitive for the next couple of seasons. (Anything less than 20 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance next season will be a disappointment in my opinion.)
Long term, I'm skeptical as to whether Coach A is going to return Arkansas to the glory days of the late 80's and early 90's quick enough to keep fans happy (If he's able to do it at all). While next season looks promising, I wouldn't be surprised to see the program struggle for a year or two after that. If that happens, many fans will once again jump off the coach bandwagon and start calling for his head.
Coach A definitely has his work cut out for him. One major challenge is keeping the Razorback Basketball Team's Academic Progress Rate above the NCAA threshold of 925. The APR is updated yearly by the NCAA and the Hogs have narrowly missed being sanctioned the past couple of seasons. This is an area Coach Pel had significantly improved, but it came at a cost on the court. He's had to be very selective in which athletes he recruited. When your APR is as low as Arkansas' had dropped to, just one player failing to "make the grade" can cost you. This is an area Coach A will have to be wary of as well. (unlike his mentor, who didn't have to worry about APR numbers or players graduating and openly stated it wasn't his job to make sure his players graduated).
I'm looking forward to next season (as I was prior to Pel being fired). With Coach A on the bench, the atmosphere in the Bud should be electrifying and I plan on going to as many games as possible. What happens after next year though, and whether he'll be able to take the Hogs back to national prominence on a yearly basis, well.. we'll just have to wait and see.
What do you think? Was this a good hire? Bad hire? Forward, backwards or lateral move?