Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sterk Believes Mizzou Coaching Job 'An Easy Sell'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sterk Believes Mizzou Coaching Job 'An Easy Sell'

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. * On his first major coaching search since taking over as Missouri athletics director, Jim Sterk believes in the product he'll present to candidates for the men's basketball job.

"The basketball coaches think this is a good job," Sterk said Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena before the Tigers tipped off against Auburn in the Southeastern Conference tournament. "I think it is, too. From that respect I think it's an easy sell."

"Out of the last nine years six of those have been to the postseason," he added. "That's pretty good. It's just the last three years that it's taken a dive."

That dive has come on the watch of Kim Anderson, who learned two weeks ago Sterk wasn't bringing him back next season as the Tigers clinched a third-straight 20-loss season. Sterk declined to say if he's narrowed his options to a certain number of targets and shared only broad descriptions for his ideal candidate.

"I'm looking for someone with great experience that has integrity and character but has had success at the Division I level," he said. "I think that's all helpful."

Sterk has said he'd like to have a coach hired by the Final Four, which tips off in Phoenix on April 1. Interviews could start next week once candidates are finished with conference tournaments. Sources have confirmed mutual interest between Missouri and Indiana coach Tom Crean, who could be coaching for his job this week in the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers, the 10 seed in Washington, play 7 seed Iowa at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. California's Cuonzo Martin is another option on Sterk's radar, sources confirmed. Other potential targets include Baylor's Scott Drew, SLU's Travis Ford, Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood and USC's Andy Enfield.

In his statement Sunday announcing his decision to fire Anderson, Sterk cited "the significant drop in interest surrounding our program," signaling, perhaps, a desire to hire an established, high-profile coach who would generate instant excitement and push ticket sales before the first tip-off next season. …

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