Posted on: August 17, 2011 6:15 am
Edited on: August 17, 2011 6:20 am
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Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 8:58 pm
By Matt Norlander
In the midst of what is immediately very likely the biggest college sports story of 2011, current Missouri -- and former Miami -- head coach Frank Haith doesn't look too good right now.
A meticulously detailed investigative report by Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson really levels Miami football. Scorched earth doesn't even begin to cover it; this is already considered among the most outrageous cases of rule-breaking in the history of the sport. But there are basketball implications here as well, and they connect primarily to Haith, who was the coach at Miami from 2004 through this past season.
Whether it was foresight or not, Haith's departure to another (and better) basketball program a few months ago could raise as many eyebrows now as it did then, when many thought Missouri made an underwhelming choice.
The dropquote below is the bombshell part, as far as Haith is concerned. It could absolutely get him fired from Missouri, should more information get uncovered. It relates to the central character of this scandal, Nevin Shapiro, who was a booster for the school tied to Ponzi money. Shapiro provided players with everything from cash to food to lodging to yacht rides to prostitutes and more. The worst of it all: Shapiro and other sources in the Yahoo! story implicate football and basketball coaches with knowing -- and active participation! -- this wrongdoing was going on.
Shapiro said he violated NCAA rules with the knowledge or direct participation of at least six coaches – Clint Hurtt, Jeff Stoutland and Aubrey Hill on the football staff, and Frank Haith, Jake Morton and Jorge Fernandez on the basketball staff. Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports Shapiro also violated NCAA rules with football assistant Joe Pannunzio, although the booster refused to answer any questions about that relationship. Shapiro also named assistant football equipment manager Sean Allen as someone who engaged in rulebreaking, and equipment managers Ralph Nogueras and Joey Corey as witnesses to some of his impropriety.Morton is now an assistant at Western Kentucky; Fernandez is currently an assistant at Marshall. Here's where Haith and Morton are implicated in a bad, bad way: the payment of recruits. One recruit, specifically. More from Robinson's report:
The booster said his role went one step farther with the basketball program, when he paid $10,000 to help secure the commitment of recruit DeQuan Jones. Shapiro said the transaction was set up by assistant coach Jake Morton in 2007 who acted as the conduit for the funds, and was later acknowledged by head coach Frank Haith in a one-on-one conversation.The photo of that nightclub trip is to the right, via the Yahoo! Sports story.
Tonight, in a statement released by Missouri, Haith said he will be happy to talk to NCAA about Shapiro and that the reports about his interaction with Shapiro "are not an accurate portrayal of my character."
In fact, here's Haith's statement in full:
"In response to a recent news article, 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 NCAA has instructed me not to comment further at this time in order to protect the integrity of their review, so I appreciate your understanding in this matter. 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."
That's certainly better than a "no comment."
There are more details in the story that tie Haith to Shapiro, like the former Miami coach attending strip clubs with Shapiro (not illegal, but doesn't look good on the surface) and the fact Shapiro donated 50 grand to the men's basketball program as recently as 2008. That money was all fraudulent, all Ponzi money Shapiro admits in the Yahoo! story.
Miami athletics was arguably already the most notorious department in college sports before this; now it's been solidified. And while football will rightfully receive most of the attention, there are serious allegations and crimes tied to its former men's basketball staff, too, and those alleged wrongdoings won't be overlooked by the NCAA as this investigation begins to curdle.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:34 am
The hiring of Frank Haith didn't inspire many. It angered plenty, especially and specifically Missouri faithful. In fact, I was sitting with a Mizzou fan at the Final Four when the news broke around 11 at night in early April. It was comically tragic, the look that morphed on that fan's face. Thing is, Haith wasn't terrible in Coral Gables, Fla., coaching Miami for the past seven years. He was just -- there. The hiring spoke more to the state of Missouri's basketball program than its alumni base would like to admit, I think.
But the time for confoundment and choler has come and gone, and the realization that a coach who was 129-101 (ahem, ACC record: 43-69) with one NCAA tournament appearance in seven seasons with the Hurricanes has sunk in for Tigers fans. Time to accept it and hope for the best.
So what's this man's contract look like? Missouri, a state, public institution, released the details of it Monday. He'll be making $1.5 million per year for five years, with each season giving him a $50,0000 raise. There are also incentives that total up to nearly another million ($825,000) if he takes Missouri to the Final Four. The bonus for the Final Four berth alone is $150,000, according to the Associated Press, but there are other achievements along the way that can unlock more money. If he fills the building consistently, putting more than 13,000 people in the seats at the home arena, that's another $100,000.
God bless BCS-conference gigs, huh?
And guess what, Tigers fans: Missouri doesn't want to lose Haith any time soon. The school increased its buyout clause in Haith's contract from what was in previous coach Mike Anderson's deal. Anderson left the school for Arkansas in late March. (His new job has had some bumps in the road to this point.)
That's a nice, not-so-subtle dig at Anderson. The school is also stepping up to pay Haith's staff, which will split 750K among five guys, a 20 percent increase from the support Anderson had.
Then, there's this. Should Haith be fired (is March of 2014 still available in the office pool?), Missouri won't take the same kind of hit it did with Anderson bolting on them.
Missouri also reduced the amount of money it would owe its men's basketball coach should he be fired. In that instance, Haith would receive a payment equal to his base salary of $350,000 multiplied by the number of years remaining on his contract. Anderson's contract called for a minimum severance payment of $500,000.
Is Haith worth this? Absolutely not. He's not proven to be a commodity that should earn this type of money, but that's the college market right now. Bless him and his agent for negotiating with Missouri to these terms. He's secure and supported by the school -- something every coach wants, but not every coach gets. The fact Missouri was so open with this shows how locked in step Haith is with the program.
He convinced Missouri he was worthy of the contract. Easy part's done. Now he's got to convince the fans, the state and the country of that, too.Photo: AP
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:13 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
The hiring of Frank Haith to run the University of Missouri basketball program next season was baffling for many reasons. His record at Miami is not exactly sterling. He doesn't project a super-charismatic personality. He's not a star.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the transition will be the abrupt change in playing style that Mike Anderson's guys will have to embrace. A running, gunning team under Anderson - one that didn't rebound or play inside particularly well - the Tigers must now learn to grind a bit more. Learning the offensive sets and positioning will take some time throughout the season, but the transformation of the team has begun already - in the weight room.
Haith hired strength and conditioning coach Todor Pandov to put the wiry Tigers through the wringer this spring and summer. The son of a Bulgarian heavyweight boxer, Pandov learned his trade while recovering from a basketball injury, suffered during his stint as a forward with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers between 1999-2004. The Columbia Tribune reports that Pandov has Mizzou's greyhounds working out three times a week as they seek to add a little bulldog to the mix.
Given the drastic change in culture in Columbia, it's rather surprising that none of the Tigers have announced an intention to transfer yet. It's quite possible that Haith knows what he's doing, and will find a way to marry that innate speed with new bulk, but the transition has to be jarring for players who spent more time doing wind sprints than heaving barbells around in the past.
According to kenpom.com, Missouri had the nation's 14th-highest adjusted tempo last season, with 72 possessions per contest. Miami's final season under Haith was played at a pace of 65.5 possessions per game, good for 236th. Not sure how easy it's going to be to put the brakes on these guys.
This will be an interesting team to watch next season. Anderson left plenty of talent on the team, but the Big 12 will look very different next season, with only the league's top ten teams around now that Nebraska and Colorado have defected. Perhaps its as good a time as any to try something new with the Tigers. The good news, according to Pandov, is that the holdovers from the previous regime "(have) great attitudes and have been willing to learn."
Everyone buying in is the first step. If Haith has accomplished that already, we may be in for a surprise at Mizzou somewhere down the road.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: April 8, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 5:05 pm
The changes in the Texas League (now there’s a moniker that makes sense) will seem even more seismic due to the departure of Colorado and Nebraska for other conferences this summer. Of the ten programs that remain in the former Big 12, thirty percent just swapped one head dude for another.
One aspect of the Big 12 situation that has been a huge positive so far is that each coaching search was wrapped up quickly. For good or ill, these programs know who will be in charge and on the recruiting trail this summer, and returning players can get to know the new guy, which could stop the flow of transfers before it ever starts. Certainty is always better than uncertainty in these cases.
Let’s look at those three programs in transition and assess how they did with the hiring process, using the ever-popular letter grading system.
Oklahoma Sooners: A-
Out: Jeff Capel (96-69)
In: Lon Kruger (479-304)
Jeff Capel was obviously a strong recruiter who had a hard time keeping his horses in the corral once he got them on campus. This is not unfamiliar territory at the University of Oklahoma. The mixture of early entry with alleged malfeasance was a bad combo for a school that had some of the same issues under Kelvin Sampson. In that respect, Kruger is an excellent hire: he seems to be a guy who is in complete control of any program he’s coached, and there have been plenty of success stories in his time on the bench.
The only thing that makes this an A- in my mind is Kruger’s age, but that could be ameliorated by the fact that he brought along a former player, K-State kamikaze Steve Henson, as an assistant coach along with another possible future successor. If Kruger can establish a foothold and leave the program in good hands, this is an excellent hire for the Sooners.
In essence, the Sooners get a coach on the brink of his 500<sup>th</sup> victory in exchange for someone who still has a lot to learn. Kudos to Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione for going after the man he really wanted for the job and making it happen.
Texas Tech Red Raiders: B
Out: Pat Knight (50-61)
In: Billy Gillispie (140-85)
I wrote before that I think Pat Knight seems like a pretty good guy who probably will be a good coach. This was just too much for a first job. Texas Tech is hardly a plum – even Pat’s legendary father struggled to get good recruits there, and only went to the NCAA tournament four times in seven years. Knight will have a chance to show what he can do in the future, and possibly earn a shot at something better down the road.
Gillispie, despite his baggage, is probably about as good a get as Tech could expect. Looking at his career as a whole, it’s clear that Kentucky was an aberration – a pressure cooker that has jellified any number of capable coaches since Adolph Rupp’s day. In fact, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Gillispie was forced to deal with his alcohol abuse issues, and may, in fact, come back stronger than before. Look at Bob Huggins for a best-case scenario.
Gillispie does really well in Texas, and he could take Tech somewhere it’s never been before. He did it for UTEP and Texas A&M, and he can probably, somehow, do it for the Red Raiders.
Missouri Tigers: D+
Out: Mike Anderson (200-98)
In: Frank Haith (129-101)
The unscientific consensus amongst hoops writers I spoke to at the Final Four is that this hire is a loser at the press conference that could end up being a winner on the court. The likelihood is that it will fall somewhere in between the Quin Snyder years and the success the Tigers enjoyed under Anderson’s tenure. It’s worth noting, however, that Mizzou never exactly became a Big 12 powerhouse under Anderson. A third-place finish in 2009, with attendant Elite Eight appearance, was as good as it ever got. So let’s not put too high a shine on the guy just yet.
Haith, on the other hand, doesn’t even look that strong. Very few Miami coaches do, so let’s take that as a caveat. Before Haith led the team to a 23-11 mark and a tourney appearance in 2009, the Hurricanes hadn’t exactly been a rocket to the stars. Leonard Hamilton, with three straight good seasons between 1998 and 2000, was the only coach to have made something out of the gig.
The thing about Haith is that he was a Rick Barnes assistant, and he’ll be back closer to his Midwestern recruiting grounds, where he did so well for the Texas Longhorns. Whether his previous success owed more to his personality or the profile of the school he was representing will be the key thing Mizzou fans will be holding their breath to find out.
Kansas State: Incomplete
Frank Martin has admitted that he’d love to be back home in Miami, which would make fans of the program doubly thrilled. Not only do they send Frank Haith off to possibly be one of the worst coaches in the Big 12, but they could get one of the league’s – if not the nation’s -- best coaches in return? Win-win all the way. Obviously, the Florida school pretty much has to put together exactly what Martin wants to lure him away, and K-State will probably try to do the same in order to keep him. The lure of home (and much shorter recruiting trips) could be the fulcrum this turns on.
If Martin leaves, the whole picture gets murky again. But for now, the conference seems to be in decent hands. The more concentrated ten-team league becomes a little tougher to win next season. These guys will have their work cut out for them.