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Mizzou’s secret weapon: Assistant Tim Fuller

Tim Fuller, Issac Chew, Phil Pressey, Matt Pressey

Missouri assistant coaches Tim Fuller, left, Issac Chew, center, player Phil Pressey, right, congratulate teammate Matt Pressey, bottom, after he saved a ball from going out of bounds during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern State, Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, in Columbia. Mo. Missouri won the game 90-56. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)


Frank Haith moved around quite a bit in his 15-year career as an assistant coach. In fact, he had two separate stints at Wake Forest and Texas A&M each, interspersed with short jaunts to Elon, Penn State and UNC-Wilmington. He recruited well at each stop, landing McDonald’s All-Americans for the Deacs and Aggies before really making his name at Texas under Rick Barnes. It was his recruiting acumen for the Longhorns that earned him a shot at Miami, which led to his current exalted post as head man at Missouri.

That said, eight employers in 19 years is not ideal for anyone’s resume. Haith knows that better than anyone, and he made a bold move to lock in his own top assistant this week, naming 34-year-old Tim Fuller (far left in photo) as Associate Head Coach at Mizzou after just one year of service to the program.

“Coach said I was his top guy,” Fuller told the Kansas City Star. “But he challenged me to earn that title publicly.”

And earn it he did. The Star article summed up Fuller’s 12 months of hard work in one convincing paragraph:

Once he was hired, Fuller hit the road for a program that badly needed players - Missouri did not have a freshman class last season - and landed several transfers who figure to play major roles this season, including center Alex Oriakhi (UConn), Keion Bell (Pepperdine), Earnest Ross (Auburn) and Jabari Brown (Oregon). He also recruited two talented freshmen in Stefan Jankovic and Negus Webster-Chan, who both arrive in the fall.

Lest Fuller sound like a one-trick pony, the article went on to point out that last year’s players raved about the assistant’s on-court instruction. This promotion so early in his career will give him some experience as a manager and administrator, which puts him on the fast track to a head job somewhere down the road.

If you’re looking for the next Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens, look to Frank Haith’s right hand man.

Eric Angevine is editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.