Many Mizzou basketball fans had to rush to their search engines Sunday night, when Internet chatter turned into genuine buzz about the possibility that Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith would take over the same role at Missouri. Those initial reports have all since been confirmed, and only a few steps remain before Haith is officially named the Tigers new coach. But, fans still are unfamiliar with the man who is set to replace Mike Anderson.
Haith has spent the last seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami. While with the Hurricanes, Haith went 129-101 with one NCAA Tournament appearance and four trips to the NIT. His record in the ACC, a fairly prestigious basketball conference, was 43-69. His tenure at Miami was highlighted by the 2007-08 season, when the Hurricanes finished with an 8-8 ACC conference record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating St. Mary’s in the first round.
Before joining the Hurricanes basketball program, Haith served as an assistant coach for a long time on many different benches. He began his career as an assistant coach in 1988 at Elon University, his alma mater. After that he held assistant coaching positions at Wake Forest, UNC-Wilmington, Penn State and a pair of Big 12 schools – Texas A&M and Texas. At Texas, he held the title of Assistant Head Coach.
Most notably, while at Texas, Assistant Head Coach Haith recruited a pair of collegiate stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson. They played two seasons each for Texas, with their second and final year featuring a share of the Big 12 Championships and a Longhorns appearance in the Elite Eight. Both players are now NBA players, Aldridge with the Portland Trailblazers and Gibson with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While winning has been a challenge in a conference dominated by legendary programs like Duke and North Carolina, Haith was able to land solid recruits while at Miami. In his first recruiting season at Miami, Haith recruited a pair of four-star players (rankings via Rivals.com). Two more four-star athletes came next year, and in 2008 Haith landed his first five-star recruit, a player from Georgia by the name of Dequan Jones. Two more four-star hoopsters came to the Canes over the remainder of Haith’s career there, and he had two four-stars locked up for the 2012 recruiting season, as well.
Aside from being able to land top high schoolers, Haith has proven he can recruit from all over the country. Even in a high school athletics hotbed like Florida, Haith has continuously looked outside the borders of the state to find top-notch talent. He has recruited players from all over the South, as well as “far-off” places such as Connecticut, California and Ohio.
Haith may not have had a high win total or a dazzling record while leading the Hurricanes, but consider that Miami is no basketball powerhouse. The Hurricanes basketball program wasn’t even a member of Division I until 1985, and they weren’t a member of a conference until 1991. Haith’s appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament was the team’s fifth all-time.
Folks were quick to disapprove of the future face of Missouri basketball on Sunday night. Hopefully, after this brief history lesson, Mizzou fans can make a more educated assessment of Frank Haith.