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Anderson decides to remain at Mizzou.

Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard


Oregon's search for a basketball coach, now in its second month, will again turn in another direction after Missouri coach Mike Anderson announced Saturday he was staying with the Big 12 school.

The 50-year-old Anderson first informed the parents of his players and recruits in telephone calls and the school then put out an official announcement. It was anticipated that he would make a decision before Missouri's men's basketball awards banquet today.

In the statement released by Missouri, Anderson was quoted as stating "it's certainly flattering anytime another university notices what your program is accomplishing and when I was approached by Oregon, I decided to listen, but it was simply with my family in mind. All that quick conversation did was reaffirm that Missouri is home to us."

Anderson said that Missouri officials "were supportive throughout this process and we plan on taking Tiger Basketball to new heights.

"Oregon is a great university, but Mizzou is a special place for me and my family and I'm proud to be your basketball coach here at Mizzou."

Anderson is only the latest to rebuff overtures from Oregon, which hasn't had a head coach since announcing March 16 that Ernie Kent wouldn't be retained after 13 seasons. The search is being headed by Pat Kilkenny, the former UO athletic director, who met with Anderson on Thursday and Friday in El Paso, Texas, where Anderson was playing in a charity golf tournament.

UO officials have maintained that there is no urgency to hire a new coach, but this is becoming a public relations disaster for the school.

That's even with a UO source close to the search saying earlier Saturday, before Anderson's announcement, that "there has not been a formal offer" to the Missouri coach. But would there have been a meeting in El Paso unless the Missouri coach was the target?

Oregon had already been turned down by Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon and Butler's Brad Stevens, and if not an actual offer, Mark Turgeon of Texas A&M was at least given strong indications of the Oregon interest in him, "behind the scenes," as Turgeon put it.

Gonzaga's Mark Few also indicated in a radio interview last week that he was approached about the Oregon opening but ultimately decided he wasn't interested in leaving his current position.

"I've had a great relationship with (Nike founder and UO benefactor) Phil Knight, and Pat Kilkenny's one of my closest friends, and those are the guys that are handling (the search)," Few said. "So, I mean, obviously we talked. We talked last year, we talked this year.

"Again, those are people that mean a lot to me, so I wanted to make sure that we at least talked. At the end of the day, I love what we have going here."

Missouri athletic director Mike Alden seemed to predict Anderson's decision Saturday when he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that "I trust Mike, and we have a good relationship.

"Certainly, our hope is that this is where he wants to be for a long time, and we felt like we stepped up and made a pretty darned good commitment 11 months ago ... because we believe in him."

Missouri nearly doubled Anderson's salary last year, signing him to a seven-year deal worth a guaranteed $1.55 million annually. Oregon was believed to be offering in excess of $2 million, along with the $500,000 buyout called for to break Anderson's contract with Missouri. Because of last year's raise and extension and the current economic difficulties at Missouri, there was apparently no attempt to match or exceed Anderson's offer from the Oregon.

Wiley commits to Broncos

Drew Wiley, who decided earlier this week he was transferring from Oregon, told the Idaho Statesman newspaper on Saturday that he had accepted an offer of a scholarship from Boise State. Wiley was on a visit to the school this weekend, where onetime UO assistant coach Leon Rice was named the coach.

Wiley will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after he sits out next year to meet the NCAA requirement for a transfer from one Division I school to another.
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Title Annotation:Basketball Oregon Men
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 18, 2010
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