ESPN is reporting that Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith shown here during an exhibition game on Oct. 29, 2012, will be the next men’s basketball coach at Tulsa.
By Michael Losch and Cody Mroczka
COLUMBIA – Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith has reached a verbal agreement with Tulsa to become the next head basketball coach, according to ESPN basketball insider, Jeff Goodman.
Reports from multiple media outlets began circulating this afternoon saying Haith had emerged as a front-runner to replace Danny Manning, who accepted the coaching position at Wake Forest. He coached the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA tournament this season.
According to Frank Cusumano of KSDK television in St. Louis, Haith called a team meeting with players at 2:45 p.m. But Gabe DeArmond of Power Mizzou reported that Haith did not tell his players he was leaving.
At around 3 pm reporters began flocking to Columbia Regional Airport when it was learned that a chartered Lear jet based in Tulsa was scheduled to depart from Columbia at 3:15 pm and arrive in Tulsa around 4:10 pm. Haith arrived at the Columbia airport around 3:50 and the flight took off around 4 pm, according to local media members.
Haith was expected to meet with University of Tulsa president Steadman Upham and athletic director Derrick Gragg after MU granted Haith permission to talk about the open position.
Haith’s Missouri contract included a $500,000 buyout for leaving early, which he’ll now owe the university. Haith coached at Miami (Fla.) before taking over at Missouri. He led Missouri to a 30-5 record in 2011-12 and was The Associated Press Coach of the Year. The Tigers went 23-12 this season.
Haith has compiled a record of 76-28 in three years with the Tigers and was the fastest coach to reach 50 wins. The Tigers were first-round exits in the NCAA tournament in Haith’s first two seasons but did not receive an NCAA tournament bid this year. Instead, Missouri appeared in the National Invitational Tournament.
Neither the athletic departments at Missouri or Tulsa has commented or confirmed any reports on the situation.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.