Haith replaced Mike Anderson, who left Missouri for Arkansas after five seasons, three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and 77 wins over the past three years.
Haith went 129-101 in seven seasons at Miami, his first head coaching job, including 21-15 in his final stint with the ACC school. The Hurricanes went 43-69 in the conference under Haith, whose best ACC mark was 8-8.
Missouri had hoped to lure Purdue coach Matt Painter, who instead signed a contract extension and received a sizable raise from the Big Ten school.
Gary Link, who played for Stewart and helped Missouri athletic director Mike Alden with the coaching search, said that Roy Williams at North Carolina, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Gary Williams of Maryland each highly recommended Haith.
Link said Haith will quickly win over skeptical and uncertain Tiger fans once they get to know him better. Trips to far-flung places like Mendon certainly don’t hurt.
“We’re the University of Missouri,” he said, emphasizing the second word in the school’s name. “We play better to all the outstate areas than we do even in Kansas City or St. Louis. Mendon. Brookfield, Marceline. The university is of Missouri. Out here, we’re the only show in town.”
One potential recruit was expected on campus Wednesday. Isaiah Philmore, a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 15.3 points and seven rebounds as a sophomore for Towson, will make an official visit, his Delaware-based AAU coach said.
Missouri could also be in the running for Rodney Purvis, a 6-foot-4 guard from Raleigh, N.C. The high school junior verbally committed to Louisville but changed his mind after Haith hired assistant Tim Fuller, Purvis’ primary recruiter.
Haith said he doesn’t expect to lose any current Missouri players, including junior forwards Kim English and Laurence Bowers, who declared for the NBA draft but can return to school since they didn’t sign with agents; and freshman point guard Phil Pressey, whose father was Anderson’s college teammate and lifelong friend.
“Phil is a guy that obviously got hurt, who’s been close to wanting to leave,” Haith said. “We’ve talked about it. I feel comfortable that he’s coming back.”
On Wednesday, Haith will take another brief break from the recruiting trail to visit with Missouri students for the first time at the school’s student union.
The only expected distraction this time: final exams.