Missouri head coach Frank Haith is a candidate for the vacant Tulsa head coaching position, according to Gary Parrish. “Frank is looking for a way out of Missouri,” one source said. “This might be it.”
[UPDATE: Tulsa has hired Frank Haith. He’s on a plane on his way to Missouri right now.]
Missouri should go ahead and make a decision now, in light of these “rumors,” that if Tulsa does not actually follow through and hire Haith, that he will be gone anyway. From a contractual standpoint, yeah, first see if another school will pay the salary and wait to avoid a firing.
But if he isn’t heading for Tulsa Time, he should be gone anyway, financial factors be damned. Moving to Tulsa would be a move, plain and simple, on getting to coach more and not facing up to the task at hand at Missouri. Mike Alden made a controversial hire when he brought Haith in as coach before the 2011-2012 season, after Mike Anderson went to Arkansas. Haith had little success at Miami (one NCAA Tournament appearance in 7 seasons) and it was not a popular move, especially in light of allegations tying Haith to unsavory actions out of Miami, before he ever coached a game.
In his first season, a senior-laden team of Anderson’s players were ranked in the top ten, before getting upset as a No. 2 seed by Norfolk State. Haith has not really made an impact in recruiting high school players, and has restocked with transfers, getting players like Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson (interestingly, from Tulsa), Earnest Ross, and Alex Oriakhi to move to the program.
The team performance has gone downhill, and by the end of last season, quite honestly, watching Missouri play was painful, like end of the Quin Snyder-era painful. The offseason has resulted in the loss of Earnest Ross, and both Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson declaring for the draft. As a result, no returning player averaged more than 6 points a game. Then, Zach Price, the best hope for next year on the court and a transfer from Louisville, was arrested twice in one day and kicked off the team.
The cupboard is bare and 2014-2015 is looking more like a rebuilding year. Attendance at games, and excitement around the program, was already down significantly last season. Alden stuck with Haith when he could have bailed as the Miami situation brewed, and could have made a move this offseason based on the general direction and lack of fan base support. Haith has rewarded him by flirting with the Tulsa job–and we could ask the separate question of why Tulsa would have interest. Is there any doubt Haith’s people contacted them, though?
No point in going through a rebuild with a coach who has no faith in his ability to turn it around. Get into the coaching search and compete with Tennessee before it is too late. If Tulsa does not make an announcement in the next 24 hours, Missouri should be making one of their own.