(3/27/19) Mike Anderson has been fired after 8 years as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Arkansas. The decision coming Tuesday afternoon after rumors circled Anderson met with Arkansas AD Hunter Yurachek.
Anderson, who came to Arkansas from Missouri, was 169-102 at Arkansas.
From the beginning, Anderson was a victim of high expecations fueled in part by his own expectations and his ties to the most successful head basketball coach Arkansas has ever had.
Year one was a disappointment as the Hogs went just 6-10 in the SEC. They were also one and done in the SEC Tournament with a lopsided loss to LSU.
Year two was somewhat of an improvement, from 9th to 7th in the SEC, but the Hogs were still one and out in the conference tournament with no post season again.
Year three was the beginning of a definite upswing, fueled by Michael Qualls and Bobby Portis. Qualls game winning slam in OT against Kentucky was epic. The Hogs also beat the Cats in Lexington, moved up to 5th in the SEC, and for the first time under Anderson, Arkansas made the post season. The Hogs won a first round NIT game before being bounced out in game two.
2015 was Mike’s best team as the Hogs went 27-9, finishes second in the conference and made it to the finals of the SEC tournament. Bobby Portis was named the 2015 SEC Player of The Year. They also made the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight years and won a game before being eliminated North Carolina in the round of 32.
Qualls and Portis both left early for the NBA draft and Arkansas fell to 16-16 in 2016. They were back dancing in 2017 after a 3rd place finish in the SEC behind the shooting of Daryl Macon, Dusty Hannahs and Jaylon Barford. Mike’s Hogs appeared to have North Carolina beat in round two but ran out of steam in the last couple of minutes, falling to the eventual national champs.
The heat began turn up on Anderson after a promising 2018 season ended with a thud as Butler sent the Hogs home with a 79-62 loss in a game that was never close.
Then came 2019. A team with no seniors and just one junior was up and down the entire season, on losing streaks of four and six games, and six home losses. Anderson appeared to have pushed back on his critics with a stunning NIT win at Providence without leading scorer Daniel Gafford. In a difficult second round test in front of 15,00 Indiana fans, Arkansas had the lead with 9 minutes to go and had a chance to send the game into OT within this desperation three point attempt.
With that loss Anderson’s time at Arkansas which totaled 25 years both as an assistant and head coach came to a close. Anderson and Lou Holtz are the only two coaches ever fired in football or basketball at Arkansas without a single losing season.