Mike Anderson has been named the 21st head coach in the history of the St. John’s Men’s Basketball program.
Anderson, who most recently served as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks for eight seasons, has a career head coaching record of 369-200 (.649), and has never had a losing season while at the helm of a college basketball program.
Anderson led Arkansas to five postseason appearances and won 22 or more games four times in his final six seasons.
In his 17 years as a head coach, he has led his teams to 12 postseason appearances, including nine trips to the NCAA Tournament. His squads have advanced on six of those occasions, including a pair of Sweet 16 berths and a run to the Elite Eight in 2009.
Anderson is one of only four current Division I coaches with at least 15 years of experience who has never endured a sub .500 campaign, a group that includes North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Gonzaga’s Mark Few.
“My family and I are extremely excited to join the St. John’s University community,” Anderson said in a statement. “This basketball program is rooted with such great tradition and it has a history built by legendary coaches, so this is a humbling experience. I look forward to mentoring the young men who will represent St. John’s proudly on the court, in the classroom and in our community.
“I would like to thank President Gempesaw, Mike Cragg and Joe Oliva for affording me this tremendous opportunity.”
During his tenure with Arkansas, Anderson logged a 169-102 (.624) record with a high-water mark of 27 victories, 13 of which came in SEC play, during the 2014-15 campaign. That season, the Razorbacks finished second in SEC regular season play behind a Kentucky team that wrapped up at 38-1. Over the past five seasons, the only SEC team with more overall or conference wins was Kentucky.
This past season, Anderson took a team that had lost more than 80 percent of its scoring and led it to the second round of the NIT. Only three players returned from the previous year’s squad.
“Coach Anderson is one of the most respected coaches in college basketball and there is no doubt in my mind that he is the perfect fit to lead our program,” said Director of Athletics Mike Cragg. “He has built programs and has sustained success throughout his career. We are confident that his extensive coaching experience, recruiting acumen and skill development program will elevate St. John’s basketball to new heights. Coach Anderson has a relentless work ethic and he is focused on establishing a championship level program here in New York City.”
During his tenure at Arkansas, Anderson mentored 11 All-SEC selections, including 2015 Associated Press Second Team All-American Bobby Portis, the 22nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. This past season, sophomore Daniel Gafford was a unanimous First Team All-SEC selection before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mike Anderson and his family to St. John’s University,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, St. John’s University. “Coach Anderson embodies the mission and values of St. John’s, with a resolute passion and hunger for excellence. He will be a great leader in ensuring the success of our student-athletes both on and off the court. Coach Anderson will be an outstanding ambassador for our University in his role as head coach of our men’s basketball program and as a member of the St. John’s community.”
Prior to his move to Fayetteville, Anderson spent five seasons as the head coach at Missouri, where he led the Tigers to a 111-57 (.661) overall record. Before his arrival, the Tigers had turned in consecutive sub .500 seasons. Over his final three campaigns in Columbia, Missouri went 77-29, highlighted by a run to the Elite Eight in 2009, a year in which the Tigers also posted 31 total wins and won the Big 12 Tournament. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) presented Anderson with its National Coach of the Year Award for his efforts.
Anderson’s first head coaching gig came at UAB, where he led the Blazers to 20-plus wins and a postseason berth in each of his four campaigns at the helm. Following an NIT Quarterfinal appearance in his first season, UAB made three-straight NCAA Tournaments, including a run to the 2004 Sweet 16 that featured wins over Washington and Kentucky, the year’s number one overall seed.
Prior to taking over at UAB, Anderson spent 17 years at Arkansas as an assistant from 1985-2002, helping guide the Razorbacks to three Final Fours, including the 1995 national championship. A protégé of Nolan Richardson and his signature “40 Minutes of Hell” style, Anderson-led teams have topped the nation in steals four times and have ranked among the top 30 14 times in 17 seasons. His teams also led the country in assists once and have ranked among the top 30 on eight occasions. Seven times as a head coach, Anderson has seen his squads rank in the top 30 in scoring offense. This past season, the Razorbacks ranked 22nd nationally in both steals and assists per game while placing 12th in blocks per outing.
Anderson, 59, was recruited by Richardson to play at Tulsa following a stint at Jefferson Junior College. In his two years with the Golden Hurricane, Anderson averaged 12.0 points per game and helped lead Tulsa to an NIT title in 1981 before achieving an NCAA Tournament berth in 1982.
Upon his graduation from Tulsa in 1982, Anderson immediately became an assistant on Richardson’s staff before departing with his mentor for Fayetteville in 1985.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Anderson and his wife Marcheita have three children: Darcheita, Michael Jr. and Yvonne. Michael Jr. played basketball for Anderson at Missouri while Yvonne played at Texas and currently plays professionally in Greece. The couple also has four grandchildren.