Kansas City, Mo. – The University of Central Missouri's basketball program can be viewed as the cradle of some great basketball coaches.
Phog Allen, Gene Bartow and Joe B. Hall coached at UCM before going elsewhere and leading their respective teams to the NCAA tournament's Final Four.
These days, Kim Anderson is making his mark in Warrensburg. With UCM next victory, Anderson will become the Mule's all-time leader in coaching victories with 179.
When Kim Anderson accepted the job as head coach at Central Missouri University, he was close to his roots in Sedalia, where he grew up. For his first opportunity as a head coach at the age of 47 in 2002, Anderson felt he could settle comfortably in Warrensburg.
"You know this is basically home and I'm not saying I would never look at another job, but this job is a great job," says Anderson.
Some would argue that Anderson's first head coaching job should have been at MU as the successor to Norm Stewart when the legendary Tigers coach made this announcement three years earlier.
While playing for Stewart at MU, Anderson was the Big 8 Player of the Year in 1977. Then after a brief playing career in professional basketball, Anderson worked for 17 seasons as an assistant coach, six at Baylor and 11 on Stewart's coaching staff at MU.
"That's a distant past," says Anderson, when asked about being passed over in 1999.
Instead, a dashing young assistant at Duke named Quin Snyder was hired. Anderson accepted a job with the Big 12 Conference as an administrator.
Anderson says he learned an important lesson from his time under Stewart.
"I learned how to survive. I learned how to pick up and move on," says Anderson.
Anderson moved on when he began his coaching career at UCM.
"I wanted to see if I could screw it up, you know? Some nights I have and some nights I haven't, but I really wanted to be a head coach," said Anderson.
Last year, Anderson became the first UCM coach to lead his team to the Division II Final Four twice.
With a 20-1 record this season, the Mules are a once again a national title contender. Anderson says he feels being head coach at U-C-M is better than several head coaching jobs in Division I.
" The reason being that you have the opportunity here to be successful on a yearly basis. I think, as a coach, that's what you look for," says Anderson
Perhaps another job offer will be dangled in front of Anderson. If not, he's content just where he is.