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Back To The Future: Anderson Returns To Arkansas

Mike Anderson had been chased before.  When Georgia offered more money than he was making in Missouri, he stayed.  When Oregon and Nike’s Phil Knight came calling, he stayed.  When rumors swirled regarding the opening at Arkansas earlier this month, he went so far as to say he wanted to retire in Columbia.

But Arkansas changed all that.  And today they’ve got the man many Hog fans wanted all along.

Anderson’s new deal will pay him $2.2 million per year over seven years.  That contract makes Anderson one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in college basketball.  The Razorbacks’ new coach makes more than Roy Williams of North Carolina, to put that number in perspective.

“Mike is one of the outstanding head coaches in college basketball,” AD Jeff Long said in a statement last night.  “His teams play an exciting brand of basketball that has already proven successful at both UAB and Missouri.

“Under Mike’s leadership, I am confident the Razorbacks will be successful in the future on and off the court.  The decision to hire Mike Anderson as head coach is based on my firm belief that he is the right person to lead the Razorback program today and in the years to come.”

Now, a quick wrap of the side stories on all of this:


1.  Before John Pelphrey was fired, three-point marksman Rotnei Clarke had asked for a release so that he might transfer due to a “lack of discipline and lack of structure.”  No word yet on whether he will change his mind with Anderson in house.  Marshawn Powell, who had had struggles with Pelphrey, said via Twitter: “Well im back… Who dont wanna play for Mike Anderson!!”

2.  Anderson said via release: “I am extremely excited to once again be a part of this special University and Razorback Athletics.  With the continued passionate support of all Razorback fans, I am confident that we will have the opportunity to succeed on and off the court and continue to build on the University of Arkansas’ championship tradition.”

3.  Want an idea of the expectations Anderson will face?  In a piece penned yesterday afternoon, Jim Harris of ArkansasSports360.com tosses out this line: “Remember when Arkansas used to line up side-by-side with Duke, Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas and the like?” 

4.  Yes, most Hog fans do remember Nolan Richardson’s zenith and that’s why his former assistant is back in Fayetteville today.  This move is “steeped in history” according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com

5.  This Kansas City Star writer believes Missouri fans should cut their old coach some slack because he left the program in good shape.

6.  In Columbia, the feelings are a bit more raw.  “Anderson’s bad breakup leaves unpleasant aftertaste.”

7.  And Mizzou’s players aren’t happy about his departure.  Obviously.


Congrats to the Razorbacks for getting their man.  Our only remaining question: How long before agent Jimmy Sexton leaks rumors that Duke or the LA Lakers are looking at Anderson… in order to get him a raise?

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Jim Harris on the Hogs’ Bowl Options, History

Arkansas
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Jim Harris on the Hogs’ Bowl Options, History

The dean of Arkansas sportswriters breaks it down.

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