COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri's athletic director believes the school should have no trouble finding a replacement for Mike Anderson.
Not long after Anderson decided to jump to Arkansas, Mike Alden said Wednesday night that the men's basketball coaching position was an "unbelievable job." Alden cited affiliation in the Big 12 conference and the Tigers' success under Anderson, who was 111-57 in five seasons.
"Was I hoping that Mike and I would be working together for a long time? I sure was," Alden said. "It's disappointing certainly for me because I was looking forward to that.
"He made that decision, he's going to continue to do great things and we are going to move Mizzou forward."
Alden said Missouri would be looking for a coach who's focused on academics as well as someone with the ability to recruit nationally. He added that the new coach needed to be someone who wanted to stay at Missouri rather than look at it as a stepping stone to another job.
"This is a special place, and we believe that our program has developed and continues to develop into a destination place," Alden said. "This needs to be a place folks want to be at for a long time."
Anderson was courted by schools the last three seasons, making for what Alden characterized as a challenging situation.
"Frustrated isn't a word I would use," Alden said. "It's challenging when you go through this three consecutive years, there's no question about that."
Junior guard Kim English said Anderson spoke from the heart during his meeting with players. English said he understood Anderson's decision to return to Arkansas, where Anderson was a longtime assistant under Nolan Richardson.
"I looked in his eyes and embraced the sincerity with which he spoke," English said. "You could tell it was hard for him to make this decision, but seeing all that he had here I understood that Arkansas meant something special to him."
Anderson had assured Missouri fans just six days earlier that "I'm excited about what's taking place at Missouri, and I plan on being at Missouri."
Junior forward Laurence Bowers said he had believed Anderson would agree to a contract extension at Missouri. Although that's not what happened, Bowers said he doesn't want "people to place a lot of bad words on him or anything like that."
"Emotions are sky high, and Tiger Nation is pretty disappointed," Bowers said. "But at the end of the day, coach did what's best for him and we respect his decision. We just have to worry about ourselves now."
Junior guard Marcus Denmon said "you have to be mad and disappointed, but you also have to wish him the best."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)