Sully Says: Anderson and Neighbors are 'old school' grinders
Who had to wait longer for their first college head coaching job? Mike Anderson or Mike Neighbors?
If you guessed Coach A, you're right. Coach Anderson spent 20 years as an assistant coach before finally landing the head coaching spot at UAB. He should have received his "big shot" earlier, but he was the victim of a lack of respect for his boss. Truth be told, Nolan Richardson never got the respect a Hall of Fame coach deserves until after he retired.
Coach Anderson knows what it's like to grind. He lived the life of a college assistant coach for two decades.
Mike Neighbors got his coaching start the same year the Razorback men won a National Championship. 1994 wasn't as kind to Coach Neighbors. His Bentonville girls experienced the thrill of victory just once that season. Mike Neighbors' first season as a head coach featured 24 losses to go with that one win. Three years later, Coach Neighbors had Bentonville in the state title game.
The next stop for Coach Neighbors was Cabot, where he spent four seasons coaching girls basketball and teaching biology.
It was Arkansas who gave this Greenwood native his first college job. He spent two seasons as Gary Blair's director of operations.
In 2001, Mike Neighbors landed his first big college job. He was an assistant at Tulsa. If women's basketball had something similar to the Broyles Award, Neighbors might have won the award. He spent four years at Tulsa, one season each at Colorado and Arkansas, three years at Xavier and three years at Washington, before finally landing his first college head coaching job.
On April 21, 2013, Mike Neighbors was named head coach at the University of Washington.
His four-year record running the Huskies program was 98-40. He led Washington to a sweet 16 and Final Four.
Mike Neighbors worked 19 years for that opportunity. Like Coach A, he's an old school grinder.
I'll take the old school grinders over the one year wonders every time.