Hurricane Sports: New Coach, Conference
By GRANT ROWL
FRANK HAITH: He’s ready to lead the TU basketball program.
This spring has been an interesting thought process time for University of Tulsa administration and fans, as TU was faced with hiring a new basketball coach while looking to a future in a new athletic conference that features the men’s and women’s national basketball champions in the University of Connecticut.
Positive anticipation was mixed with frustration and grief as Danny Manning bolted from his head basketball coaching position after only two years to take a similar position at Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The stunning move was soon forgotten when, in an even more stunning move, Frank Haith left Missouri to become TU’s 30th head basketball coach as announced by TU’s Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Derrick Gragg.
Haith brings 28 years of collegiate coaching experience and 17 years of advancing to postseason competition to the Tulsa basketball program. “We are extremely pleased to have Frank Haith as our basketball coach and happy to welcome the Haith family to the Tulsa community,” says Gragg. “Frank brings tremendous talent as a head coach and recruiter – qualities that will place us in an excellent position as TU basketball transitions into the competitive American Athletic Conference, a league that boasts the current national champion.”
“Frank Haith brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his job as head coach at Missouri,” says university President Steadman Upham.
“Following in the footsteps of Golden Hurricane basketball coaching legends Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith and Bill Self is no small order, but Frank is up to the task,” Upham says. “The university has every confidence that Frank’s success in the will translate to recruiting and coaching success at TU.”
Haith, 48, has spent the past 10 years as a head coach at two universities. His first seven seasons were spent at the University of Miami and the past three years at the University of Missouri. Haith has averaged 20.5 wins in his 10 years as a head coach, while compiling an overall 205-129 record for a .614 winning percentage and eight postseason tournament appearances.
Haith transitioned both programs into new conferences, moving Miami from the Big East Conference to the and Missouri from the Big 12 Conference into the . Tulsa transitions into the American Athletic Conference from Conference on July 1.
“I’m tremendously excited to be the head basketball coach at The University of Tulsa,” says Haith. “You always want to work with great people, and it’s obvious in my brief time spent with President Upham and Dr. Gragg that they are two of the finest individuals anywhere, and I thank them for this opportunity. My family and I are thrilled about being a part of the TU family and the Tulsa community.”
“There’s no question that Tulsa’s move into the American Athletic Conference was a big part of making the decision to come here. The strength of this league is phenomenal. It’s a basketball league. With Connecticut winning the national championship this past season and then with the strength of Memphis and Cincinnati and the emphasis that the other league members have placed on basketball, it was definitely a main reason for our family in deciding to come to Tulsa,” added Haith.