Norm Stewart Unveiled His Thoughts on Kim Anderson’s Coaching
Kim Anderson tipped off the season on Nov. 13 with a career record of 0-0 as head coach of the Missouri Tigers. No, that’s not a typo – it’s the way former Coach Norm Stewart views his longtime player, protégé and friend. Stewart believes Anderson’s 19-44 record in his first two seasons with the Tigers says far more about the hand he was dealt than it does about his coaching ability.
“I think Coach Anderson now has the program where he wanted it two years ago,” Stewart says. “So this is kind of like his first year as far as I’m concerned. Kim Anderson is a winner. I have known him since he was in eighth grade. He is probably one of the ten-best players ever to play at the University of Missouri, but nobody ever talks about that, because he never talks about it.
Stewart understands the challenges of reviving an alma mater’s floundering program. The Tigers finished 3-22 under Bob Vanatta the year before Stewart took the helm for the 1967-68 season. His first two teams finished an uninspiring 24-27, but he went on to post a career record of 634-333 over 32 seasons.
One difference between pupil and mentor is their court side demeanor. Fans rarely see Anderson storming on the sidelines of Norm Stewart Court. “He’s a John Wooden-type,” Stewart said. “You’re not going to see a lot of expression.”
Anderson is using that professorial style to teach the players he recruited to play the style of basketball he wants to play.
“I think we have some guys who understand what it takes,” Anderson says. “We’ve recruited them, we know their families and we know their backgrounds. I hope we will make improvements, and I think we will. I don’t think we’re ready for the Final Four yet, but I do think our guys are excited about the season.”
Whatever the record, he expects to bring back something that has been missing all too often in the seasons since Stewart retired: F-U-N.
“We had a lot more fun when we coached, but we didn’t make any money,” Stewart says. “Now I hope they’re having some fun, because they’re making a lot more money. Either way, it’s still a great game, with great kids playing and great coaches coaching. But when you’re running the shop and you’re making a little money, you have to do a little better.”
Anderson is more than ready to relax a bit and enjoy his dream job.
“I probably haven’t had as much as I did the few years before when I was at Central Missouri and we won a lot of games,” he says. “When we came in, we had to make some adjustments and change the culture a little bit. That’s part of the profession. But we’re going to have some fun this year. We’re excited.”
He expects the fun to be contagious.
“We want to play faster. We went to Italy, played faster and scored more points. Everybody wants to play fast, and I think we have guys now who can score better and are a little better defensively. Come on out. We’ll be exciting.”
Stewart understands the journey. “[Anderson] won the national championship over at Warrensburg, and he’s going to win games at Missouri. He will be an outstanding coach, and this season is the start of it.”
Photos: Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics