April 1, 2009
Powered Up: Practicing what he preached
For weeks, I'd told friends of mine that if Mike Anderson left seven newcomers in the lurch at Missouri for a couple hundred thousand dollars, I had a commentary all made up to blast him for talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
But on Monday night, that one went in the trash bin. Now, I get to write the exact opposite. It's easy to say you will do something. It's sometimes hard as hell to follow through and actually do it. And what Anderson did on Tuesday night had to be very, very hard.
According to my sources, Anderson left approximately $2.8 million dollars sitting on a table in Athens, Georgia. He may have left more than that in Memphis. The Bulldogs had offered the Missouri coach a contract worth $14 million over the course of six seasons, an average of a little more than $2.3 million per year. Mike Alden came back with an offer worth $10.85 million over the next seven.
Now, listen, 11 million bucks is nothing to sneeze at. There's pretty much no chance that I'll make it in my lifetime. And it's easy to sit in my chair and wonder if once you make $11 million whether you can really tell a difference if you make 14. Honestly, I don't know. Maybe you can, maybe you can't. I'd love to have the opportunity to find out. If I do, I'll report back to you. The fact is, I'm never going to have that choice. Mike Anderson had the choice. And he did what he said he would do all along.
And that's why Mike Anderson deserves your praise today. Yes, he deserves it for the 31 wins. Yes, he deserves it for the Elite Eight run. But more than that-far more than that-he deserves it because he practiced what he preached. In an era when Nick Saban told everyone he wasn't interested in Alabama days before he took the job; in an era where Bobby Petrino told Arthur Blank he was committed to the Atlanta Falcons hours before he called the Hawgs; in an era where Roy Williams said he didn't give a ---- about North Carolina days before he went back to Chapel Hill, Mike Anderson didn't do the easy thing. He did the right thing. Mike Anderson told Missouri he was committed to them. And then he committed to them. That's worth more to Tiger fans than every penny Anderson will ever earn in Columbia.
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