- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2011

MIAMI (AP) - Frank Haith has agreed in principle to take over as coach at Missouri, leaving the Miami basketball program after seven seasons, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press late Sunday night.

Haith has not signed a contract, according to the person, who spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because Missouri officials had not formally approved the new deal. The Columbia, Mo., Tribune reported that the Missouri Board of Curators would meet in closed session Monday night to essentially complete the hiring.

Haith was expected to return to Coral Gables, Fla., on Monday to tell the Miami players of his decision personally, then be introduced in Missouri as early as Tuesday. Haith had been in Houston at the Final Four.

Miami officials did not immediately return late-night messages, and a Missouri basketball spokesman did not return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Missouri has been searching for a replacement for Mike Anderson, who left the Tigers late last month to take over at Arkansas. Missouri tried unsuccessfully to lure away Purdue’s Matt Painter, who wound up staying with the Boilermakers and accepting an eight-year extension.

The Tigers have made three straight NCAA tournaments, and their 77 wins over the past three seasons is the best such total in school history.

Some Miami players reacted on Twitter when the news broke. Center Reggie Johnson simply said “WOW,” and forward Julian Gamble vowed that the Hurricanes are going to “get better regardless.”

Haith, whose job security at Miami has been a hot topic in recent years, has plenty of experience in the Big 12. He was an assistant at Texas A&M from 1992-95, then returned to the Aggies as an associate head coach for the 1996-97 season. After leaving there for Wake Forest, Haith spent three years on Rick Barnes’ staff at Texas before getting the Miami job in 2004.

For the Hurricanes, it means a wild few months of turnover will get even wilder.

Randy Shannon was fired as football coach in November by then-athletic director Kirby Hocutt, who resigned about a month ago to take the same job at Texas Tech. Now, Miami has an interim athletic director in Tony Hernandez and will be seeking a men’s basketball coach.

Haith has two years left on his contract with Miami, worth a total of about $3 million. The school is expected to release Haith from his contract without penalty.

Haith has a 129-101 record with the Hurricanes, who return virtually everyone from a team that went 21-15 this season.

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