Haith Trying to Gain the Faith of Tiger Fans
COLUMBIA - Admit it, you did not think Mizzou would name Frank Haith it's new basketball coach.
Haith, however, plans to earn the respect of the Tiger faithful.
When fans are upset about a 23 win season and a trip to the NCAA tournament, you know you are at a program with passion for basketball.
Now Mizzou has a new coach, and he says he's ready for the challenge.
To know where you're going, you have to know where you've been.
"I stand here today with my head held high. Very prideful of what we accomplished at the University of Miami," Haith said.
Accomplishments in the win-loss column are cause for concern for Missouri fans.
"There's no doubt in my mind I'm going to work as hard as I can. Not to prove people wrong, but to do what is in me. That's who I am," Haith explained.
He's a coach, and it's what he always wanted to be.
"My experiences, who I am. My father figures were my coaches. There's no question. I knew I wanted to coach early on. I went to college saying I want to coach. I want to have that kind of impact on lives," Haith said.
And he'll get his chance with a team that's played in three straight NCAA tournaments.
"A place like Missouri that has tradition, to a place like Missouri that has a rabid fan base, to a place like Missouri that has a tremendous home court advantage. We can win big here. I believe that and we will show," Haith explained.
It is the Show-Me State, and Coach gets his first chance to show his recruiting skills if he can land Scott County Central big man Otto Porter.
"I don't call it recruiting. I call it building relationships. For example, as soon as I got his job here, because of those relationships, I've had people call me all the time saying I got a kid for ya," Haith said.
So, Haith has contacts. Now it's time to get to work.
"I've been in this business 25 years. I know I look good. I don't look that old. You guys are thinking it. You didn't really want to say it, though," Haith said.
Haith is one of ten children, and says his grandmother raised him, something he has in common with one of his star players: Marcus Denmon.
Haith says he plans on coaching at Missouri a long time. As he said, "As long as the University wants me."