"Kim Anderson is like Norm Stewart," former Missouri Western head coach Tom Smith said. "He hasn't done what Norm's done, but Kim is Missouri. I think that's important to Missouri people. This is the Show-Me State."
Anderson, a former Missouri assistant under program win-leader Norm Stewart, just completed his 12th season at Central Missouri with a Division II National Championship. He, like Stewart, holds more victories than any other coach at his program.
Smith preceded Anderson at UCM and recruited him out of high school. Likewise, Smith spent time at the Division I level at Valparaiso. He had no doubt that Anderson could make the leap.
"When people say: 'This is a tremendous jump, there's a huge difference,' I'm not so convinced of that."
Northwest head coach Ben McCollum, who lost to Anderson and the Mules in the Central Region Final last month, echoed that belief.
"I think it's built up to be a bigger leap than it actually is," he said. "I think there's probably quite a few Division II coaches that are better than a lot of your high-major ones that everybody says are the greatest."
Over Anderson's 13 years in Warrensburg, no MIAA team has won more games than the Mules. Even that, plus the national title run, can't keep some from being skeptical of a coach getting his first Division I job at 58-years-old.
Still, his fellow coaches believe that extended career around the state would help him in Columbia.
"He's already been at the Division I high-major level, so he understands what recruiting is at that level."
His connections to Stewart have garnered him support across social media, including his own Facebook page: "Kim Anderson for Mizzou Men's Basketball Coach", which had over 1,100 likes Sunday evening. Despite his chances, the more his colleagues thought about it, the more sense it made.
"Quite frankly, who are you going to get that's any better? I think if you can have success at our level with 10 scholarships, in our conference, and consistently win those championships, with the Division I experience that he has, I don't see why he couldn't."
Alden has given no indication on when the hire will be made. UCM declined comment on Anderson's name being tied to the search.