Michael Kim isn’t sure what to tell his co-workers at ESPN when they ask him who he thinks Missouri’s next men’s basketball coach will be.
“When (former Tigers coach) Mike (Anderson) left, I had so many people at ESPN coming up to me and asking, ‘Hey, who’s going to take over Mizzou?’ or ‘Who do you want Mizzou to get,’” Kim said in a telephone interview with the Missourian on Thursday. “And I honestly have no idea.”
Kim, who was born in Columbia, earned a bachelor’s degree from Westminster College in Fulton in 1987 and a master’s degree in journalism from MU in 1991. He has been an anchor at ESPNNEWS since 1996, and also contributes to ESPN’s SportsCenter.
“But I said, well, in a perfect scenario, it would be (Butler coach) Brad Stevens,” Kim said. “But if (Purdue coach) Matt Painter isn’t coming to Missouri, I don’t see why Stevens would because he’s built Butler to be a program that’s highly successful. I think the guy you go after if you’re Missouri is Shaka Smart. I bet Missouri will be trying to talk with him this weekend (at the Final Four), and at this point, that’s a great idea.”
Before Painter made his decision to stay at Purdue, Kim said that those same co-workers at ESPN were asking him why Painter would even consider leaving Purdue for Missouri.
“The implication here was, ‘Hey, Missouri’s not a good job,’ or, ‘That’s not as good of a job as he currently has,” Kim said. “I guess what they were trying to say is it’s certainly not a step up. I don’t think anybody on a national level thinks of Mizzou as any more than an upper to middle-tier program. It’s a good program, but certainly not like a Kansas, Kentucky, Duke or whoever you think are the blue bloods of college basketball.”
Kim also questioned statements MU athletics director Mike Alden made March 23 at a news conference announcing Anderson’s departure. Alden described MU as a “destination place,” a place where a future coach should “want to be for a long time.”
“Even if you get Smart, even if you got Matt Painter, the days of the 25-30 year coaches at one place are pretty much over,” Kim said. “When you hire a coach, you can hope that he’ll be there for that long, but at the same time, you can’t expect it.”
— Nick Forrester