Assistant Coaches Use Recruiting to Give Fans Faith in Haith
COLUMBIA - Coach Haith was an assistant coach at Wake Forest, he convinced a walk-on to stay on the team and by his senior season the team voted the walk-on a captain. Tim Fuller is now Coach Haith's Top Assistant.
The new Missouri assistant coaching staff only has one veteran, but don't call 65-year-old Ernie Nestor old.
"I just came from Penn State where the football coach is 84 years old, so you gotta keep things in perspective when you talk about age," said Nestor.
Years ago at Wake Forest, Coach Haith worked with two of his current assistants.
"Coach and I worked together for four years and during that time Tim was a student athlete there," said Nestor, "so we intertwined pretty well there. Had a common philosophy."
Fuller said, "He was a big part of the reason the team and Dave Odom nominated me team captain as a Senior... had a lot to do with his involvement in the program and what he say in me as a young mand and as a leader."
Tim Fuller now leads Mizzou's recruiting efforts, but says he is already getting assistance from the Tiger faithful.
"We really have some avid fans, they follow recruiting," said Fuller. "They go after the guys we're recruiting via twitter and they're posting things and they're blogging and it's really fun to see the fans engage."
And it's making a difference. The two newest recruits, transfers Earnest Ross and Keion Bell, say the fans earned an assist for them making the leap to Mizzou.
"Two of the kids that we had sign with us," Fuller said. "Earnest Ross and Keion Bell have come back and said, 'man the fan support you guys have there at Missouri is unbelievable.'"
"What they provide for us is immediate stability in a class that loses so much perimiter scoring. You get the experience and you'll be able to compete at a high level because you've got guys that have been at this level," said Issac Chew.
Fuller said, "I always tell people in recruiting sometimes it's better to be lucky than good and we really got lucky in getting those two guys."
Both of the transfers are from out of state so Mizzou is still trying to lock down the borders on Missouri talent. Currently, there are four Tigers on the roster from the Show-Me State.
"It helps also to continue to recruit the Kansas City area, but we also want to recruit the state of Missouri really hard," said Chew, "so, we're trying to recruit the other side of the state and get more kids out of the St. Louis area. We've been doing a pretty good job trying to make those inroads."
"To come here in the midwest and figure out what do kids in the state of Missouri... what's it going to take for these kids to want to come here, stay here and believe in what we're trying to do?"
Coach Fuller pointed out the Hansborough brothers and David Lee as examples of some the state's best players leaving for other colleges. He says changing that is his top recruiting priority.