Former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson named St. John’s head coach

Former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson named St. John’s head coach
Source: KAIT

Press Release from St. John’s Athletics

One of the most successful coaches in Division I over the past two decades, Mike Anderson has been named the 21st head coach in the history of the St. John’s Men’s Basketball program.

Anderson, who most recently served as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks for eight seasons, will be formally introduced today with a 1 p.m. press conference at Madison Square Garden. Fans can watch the press conference live on Media members wishing to attend the event should enter “The World’s Most Famous Arena” through the Chase C entrance located on 8th Avenue near the corner of 33rd Street.

Anderson, who brings to Queens a career head coaching record of 369-200 (.649), has never had a losing season while at the helm of a college basketball program. In his 17 years as a head coach, he has led his teams to 12 postseason appearances, including nine trips to the Big Dance. His squads have advanced on six of those occasions, including a pair of Sweet 16 berths and a run to the Elite Eight in 2009. Most notably, he is one of only four current Division I coaches with at least 15 years of experience who has never endured a sub .500 campaign. His impeccable company in that respect includes Roy Williams, Tom Izzo and Mark Few.

“My family and I are extremely excited to join the St. John’s University community,” said Anderson. "This basketball program is rooted with such great tradition and it has a history built by legendary coaches, so this is a humbling experience. I look forward to mentoring the young men who will represent St. John’s proudly on the court, in the classroom and in our community. “I would like to thank President Gempesaw, Mike Cragg, and Joe Oliva for affording me this tremendous opportunity.”

Anderson spent the past eight seasons at Arkansas, where he led the Razorbacks to five postseason appearances and won 22 or more games four times in his final six seasons. During his tenure in Fayetteville, Anderson logged a 169-102 (.624) record with a high-water mark of 27 victories, 13 of which came in SEC play, during the 2014-15 campaign. That season, the Razorbacks finished second in SEC regular season play behind a Kentucky team that wrapped up at 38-1. Over the past five seasons, the only SEC team with more overall or conference wins was Kentucky. This past season, Anderson took a team that had lost more than 80 percent of its scoring and led it to the second round of the NIT. Only three players returned from the previous year’s squad.

“Coach Anderson is one of the most respected coaches in college basketball and there is no doubt in my mind that he is the perfect fit to lead our program,” said Director of Athletics Mike Cragg. “He has built programs and has sustained success throughout his career. We are confident that his extensive coaching experience, recruiting acumen and skill development program will elevate St. John’s basketball to new heights. Coach Anderson has a relentless work ethic and he is focused on establishing a championship level program here in New York City.”

During his tenure at Arkansas, Anderson mentored 11 All-SEC selections, including 2015 Associated Press Second Team All-American Bobby Portis, the 22nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. This past season, sophomore Daniel Gafford was a unanimous First Team All-SEC selection before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mike Anderson and his family to St. John’s University,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, St. John’s University. “Coach Anderson embodies the mission and values of St. John’s, with a resolute passion and hunger for excellence. He will be a great leader in ensuring the success of our student-athletes both on and off the court. Coach Anderson will be an outstanding ambassador for our University in his role as head coach of our men’s basketball program and as a member of the St. John’s community.”

Prior to his move to Fayetteville, Anderson spent five seasons as the head coach at Missouri, where he led the Tigers to a 111-57 (.661) overall record. Before his arrival, the Tigers had turned in consecutive sub .500 seasons. Over his final three campaigns in Columbia, Missouri went 77-29, highlighted by a run to the Elite Eight in 2009, a year in which the Tigers also posted 31 total wins and won the Big 12 Tournament. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) presented Anderson with its National Coach of the Year Award for his efforts.

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