Missouri coaching search: Best possible candidates to replace Frank Haith

Kevin C. Cox

Due to Frank Haith's sudden bolt to Tulsa, the Missouri men's basketball team is without a head coach. Who is best fit for this job?

After Frank Haith's sudden "it's not you, it's me" maneuver to head west to become the head coach for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, a vacancy in Columbia, Mo. has suddenly appeared. The Mizzou fanbase is just begging for a winner, with their cravings for a stable, credible and winning program akin to a student's craving for the likes of Shakespeare's Pizza, or for some, Kampai Sushi (Try it, Columbia foodies. It's the best in town. Period.).

In the world of "what have you done for me lately?" it was apparent that Haith was not satisfying these demands. Sure, the Tigers had won 20+ games for three consecutive years, but there was so much left to be desired. In three seasosn, their win totals decreased, they had two first round exits -- including the haunting loss to Norfolk State in 2012 -- and then an appearance in the NIT. In a basketball conference that was perhaps the worst of the power conferences in the country, Missouri was barely over .500 in league play under Haith.

But, now that that's over, a new face has to take over the program. From what we've gathered over the last few days, and with the coaching search set to begin this coming week, here are some viable candidates for the job that would make the most sense.

Archie Miller: Perhaps the best option of them all, Dayton's Archie Miller stands out amongst the pack as a young coach with an impressive résumé. He did after all just help lead the Flyers to the Elite 8, where they were unceremoniously dumped by Florida. But that's nothing against him and his styles, as Florida was, after all, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Miller did just sign an extension to remain with Dayton until after the 2018-19 season, but, we've learned in the past that extensions tend to not mean all that much. Just ask Steve Alford.

Ben Howland: Ben Howland represents the hottest name on the free agent coaching market. Howland was dumped by UCLA a few seasons ago, and his time in Westwood left some mixed results. He did make three consecutive Final Fours from 2006 to 2008 and that did include a National Championship appearance in 2006. But a slew of controversy trailed with him on his way out, and the Bruins had a dip in success -- or a lack thereof -- in his final years at Pauley. Howland may be unreachable as well due to his asking price.

Tim Miles: It was mentioned by ESPN's College Basketball Insider that Tim Miles could be somebody to keep an eye on. And would Nebraska fans not love for the coach that brought them to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998, and helped give them their first NCAA Tournament win ever, to flee for Mizzou? That would certainly go over well in Lincoln, wouldn't it? Anyways, Miles, much like Miller, is a young name that could invigorate the program with a sense of renewal and a sense of change. And that might be what the doctor ordered in Columbia.

Kim Anderson: Want to keep it local Mike Alden? Look no further than Central Missouri's Kim Anderson. The name is familiar to Tiger fans as Anderson spent his college days at Ol' Mizzou, helping the Tigers win a Big 8 title in 1976. Additionally, he was a part of Norm Stewart's staff that won Big 8 Championships in 1983 and 1994. Anderson has had a bevy of success in Warrensburg, helping the Mules win back-to-back MIAA titles and the DII National Championship a season ago.

Tim Fuller: If Alden wants to simply keep it in-house, and it certainly would not surprise this writer if he did, he can look to promote Tim Fuller. Fuller has been a very good assistant and in the five games he was an interim head coach, Fuller has yet to receive a blemish - going 5-0 in those contests. This certainly seems like the most unlikely road to travel on, though. Mizzou desperately needs to make a home run hire, and although Fuller is certainly not a bad coach, Alden would be best to not hire from within the program. With that said, it certainly would be a surprise to me if he was not at least interviewed.

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