To say this year has been tough is obvious, and everyone knows it. Professionalism demands performance, and when you don’t have it, it’s hard to stay in business.
Kim Anderson knows all too well about demands and such at this point. Three years into his dream job and it’s turned into an absolute nightmare. Players are transferring like crazy. Writers are bashing the ship as it sinks. His team is “there” in the sense that they show up to practice and go through the motions like a normal team would, but what has happened to them is not normal.
Yet, through all of this, Anderson has a job to do in maintaining control and teaching his players. Given the circumstances and the pressure, I don’t know that I can think of anyone who’s done it better at this point while having the clouds of judgement and blame hanging over their head.
In that spirit, I think it’s entirely fitting at this point that TigerNation write an open letter to Coach Anderson. Although this letter is from an author, comment at the bottom to add your sentiment to the message:
Dear Coach Anderson,
Thank you so much for continuing your quest to make Mizzou a better team and teach the young men under your guidance about life. Skilled teachers and strong men make strong communities, so your simple presence in Columbia helps the growth of a stronger community.
Undoubtedly as you have progressed through your third season at the helm of Tiger basketball, you realize that you are dealing with some of the toughest times any coach at Mizzou has ever had to endure. We all see the struggles, and there is nowhere for you to hide as you attempt to explain the downfall of the program. You’re the one who has to answer for every single loss, and do it with joy in your heart that the latest loss will somehow teach the team to progress and turn the whole thing around.
Kim, you’ve done everything. You’ve cared about every player the best way you know to care for them. You wake up early, look at film late, and try to make your guys feel good. It’s just not translating to wins. Many fans and donors are upset about the state of the program, but to be honest, those who have given up at this point don’t see the full vision.
We, the true fans of someone who is a True Son at this school, have something to say about what’s happening here from a third person perspective.
I refuse, against the common rhetoric, to call you a “bad coach,” because I simply don’t believe that. I’ve detailed in many of my previous articles what I believe to be the root of the program’s problems, and they begin with the lack of loyalty and the diminished culture within the team. No one cares and so no one wins.
Coach A, you care. You have worked hard in changing the culture of the personalities involved in the program, something that has gone completely unheralded by the local media in Columbia. You’re a humble guy, so I’ll be the one to stand up and toot your horn on that incredible achievement.
Many players have left as a result of your necessary changes. What would typically have been the upswing year in your third season has turned into what would be a normal first year. Players simply trying to know each other and play in a unified fashion on the court have not played up to expectations, but have done very good in many cases. But almost doesn’t count.
You may have already convinced yourself or fallen victim to the idea that you’re toast at this job, but I’m here to tell you that that is hogwash. I don’t care if Donald Trump has already told you, “you’re fired,” if you finish strong, there’s no way you won’t be retained one more year.
We believe in you, Kim. We know your history as a player and your credentials as as coach, and all of it meets the grade, despite what the skeptics have said. I’m standing behind you, and I speak for many other proud fans who haven’t given up and are right there hanging on every moment. Things are obviously not great right now, but there’s no question that this very difficult situation is headed in the right direction under your guidance, given the opportunity for you to continue to steer the ship. Thank you and just know that your efforts are appreciated beyond words by those that follow this team and know what it can become.
Dan Irwin & Many in Mizzou Nation