by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA- Years after the era of "thou who shalt not be named", the University of Missouri basketball program was starting to get back on the right track. A questionable hire at the time, Mike Anderson came from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and wound up leading the Tigers to a Big 12 Championship in 2009 and three consecutive NCAA National Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2009. Anderson became the fastest MU coach to eclipse 100 victories, reaching the feat in just five years, one ahead of legendary coach Norm Stewart. After a 23-10 (9-9 Big 12) 2010 season that appeared to leave so much on the court, it all came to an abrupt end. An end that left a sour taste in Tiger fans' mouths. "We will bring a national championship to the state of Missouri." Anderson told the Missouri Congress, among other statements of his commitment to Mizzou. What happened next left many fans scratching their heads as to what happened.
It was time for a new coach, but who would we court to replace Anderson? We had our eyes on VCU's Shaka Smart, Butler's Brad Stevens and Purdue's Matt Painter. After a considerable $2.2 million offer to Painter, the news broke via Bernie Miklasz on Twitter that Matt was the new coach of the Missouri Tigers. The next day, Painter struck a $2.4 million deal with his current job and Alma Mater, the Purdue Boilermakers.
Usher in Frank Haith. "Frank who?" Frank Haith. The name was widely unknown in the world of Missouri athletics until he was named as the new head basketball coach in wake of Anderson departing for Arkansas. His departure from the Miami (FL) Hurricanes was questionable, and quite a few Mizzou fans doubted his hire by athletic director Mike Alden.
The term "Death Penalty" is an unofficial term used by media and fans to describe what the NCAA imposed on the Southern Methodist Mustangs back in the mid-1980s.
Following the story breaking online, the universities of Missouri and Miami along with Frank Haith released statements Tuesday regarding the allegations, and all report to being fully cooperative with the NCAA in the matter.
"I can confirm that the NCAA has asked to speak with me regarding the time I spent at the University of Miami. I am more than happy to cooperate with the national office on this issue and look forward to a quick resolution. The reports questioning my personal interactions with Mr. Shapiro are not an accurate portrayal of my character and per the above I am unable to comment further." -Frank HaithThe new developments bring back painful memories to the 2003 scandal involving Missouri player Ricky Clemons, and the sanctions that were imposed as a result. You can't change the past, as painful as it may be, and while were able to recover from that, the wounds have been reopened. But what I wanted to know is what real people, the fans, thought of the current situation.
I took to the streets and hit the message boards as well as the social networking websites to find out what Mizzou fans think of the situation, and was met with a mixed bag of responses. Some fans seem to stand by Frank and still have "Faith in Haith", whereas others seem to want to cut losses and move on.
"I think this could be a long shot but it seems like there is something behind the scenes going on, I mean he came out of nowhere for the job, and now this, maybe, just maybe, he just wanted to get out of Miami before these rumors surfaced and got run out of town."-Tyler
"Alright, he needs to go, and Alden needs to go. Yeah Alden sure did a "background" check on Haith. Yeah the hire was bad, and now we find out this. There has to be more to the story. Just fired me up. Hope it's not true, but most things like this don't turn out good, especially at Mizzou, everything blows up in our faces." -Jon
"I believe Haith is genuinely innocent, because if not wow...I wont even go there." -Toby
"Believe me Frank Haith is the last guy I wanted at Mizzou in the first place and now with the light of these accusations at Miami, it just makes his hire all the more head scratching. If these allegations are true and Miami is given the SMU treatment, the Frank Haith era at Mizzou would crash and burn before it ever left the ground." -Justin
"It's bull. We were getting too good, the other schools didn't like it, so they try to drown our coach."-ChelseaWhat does the future hold for Frank Haith? As it stands, things are not looking so well for the coach. He's said he's being fully cooperative, but the evidence against him seems overwhelming. Shapiro, despite his conviction, tells a compelling story. The photos in his records are pretty damning evidence against Miami, but still no proof has surfaced of Haith's involvement or knowledge of the payments. The NCAA is conducting their investigation, and everybody gets their due process. If Haith is guilty, nothing will come of Mizzou other than firing him. That is, unless Alden had prior knowledge of Haith's role in the scandal. If there is proof that Missouri had an inclination of wrongdoing, but hired him anyway, repercussions could come Mizzou's way. Until that point, the Tigers have nothing to worry about other than possibly having to find a new head basketball coach, again.