Frank Haith takes the lead at Missouri
By Eliza Smith
D-1 teams hit the court for their first practice of the season on Friday night, but for Missouri, it wasn’t just the first practice of the year — it was the inaugural practice under new head coach, Frank Haith.
Haith was officially welcomed to Tiger Nation on April 5, coming from the University of Miami where he led the Hurricanes for seven seasons and earned the title of winningest postseason coach in Miami history.
Haith arrived in Columbia with respect for a program that has surged back onto the national platform with three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
“I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for this university and this program,” he said in April. “Mizzou Arena and the facilities here are first-class. The support of the students and administration is second-to-none and the tradition is outstanding.”
Haith spoke to the media before practice on Friday. He was eager to get his hands on his new team and get to work.
“Like everybody across the country, we are all undefeated right now so we’re excited about today,” he said. “Particularly here, with us; this is our first year with these guys, so we’ll get a chance to really see where we’re at and focus on getting ourselves better.”
Missouri has been known for its “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” and Haith’s style of play will continue to get crowds on their feet.
“I just want our guys to understand how we want them to play, and that’s as a team that plays with a tremendous amount of effort,” he said. “We want to win the effort game every night — meaning loose balls, taking charges, transition play. We want to be a team that flies all over the court.”
Haith has built a solid coaching staff around himself, including assistant coaches Ernie Nestor, Tim Fuller and Isaac Chew, and strength coach Todor Pandov.
Senior guard Kim English is impressed with the new coaching crew.
“They have brought a tremendous amount of professionalism,” English said. “They’re meticulous, they pay attention to details, and they’re excited to get here and work.”
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