Alabama-Birmingham basketball coach Mike Anderson denied the rumors that he is being invited by in-state rival Auburn. According to Anderson, he had no contacts with Auburn and is concentrating solely on the important Blazers' game against No. 4 Kansas on Friday night.
Anderson said he was flattened by having his name mentioned in this context and estimated this as recognition as his job as coach and performance of Blazers team.
Mike Anderson was named the third head men's basketball coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on April 4, 2002.
In his first season at the helm, Anderson guided the Blazers to the best single-season improvement in school history. UAB finished last season with a 21-13 record overall and an 8-8 Conference USA record, which was good enough to finish second in the National Division. Anderson was one of only three Division I coaches last season to win at least 20 games in his first year as a head coach.
Anderson not only won 21 games last season, but also accomplished some “firsts” in the program’s history. For example, UAB played in the C-USA championship game for the first time in school history, barely missing an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, losing to tournament host Louisville, 83-78. The Blazers entered the C-USA Tournament as a No. 9 seed. UAB defeated Charlotte in the first round, 85-61, No. 1-seeded and eighth-ranked Marquette 83-76 and fourth-seeded Saint Louis, 63-62, to advance to the C-USA championship game.
Despite falling to the Cardinals, the Blazers did receive an NIT invitation, appearing in their first postseason since the 1998-99 campaign. Anderson directed the Blazers to a quarterfinal appearance where they fell to eventual 2003 NIT Champion St. John’s.
Anderson set goals for the program and his tenure got off on the right start when you consider: * The first time UAB has reached the championship game of the Conference USA tournament. * The best single-season improvement in school history, going from 13-17 in 2001-02 to 21-13 in 2002-03 for a +8-game improvement. * The first time the Blazers have led the nation in steals (11.6/game). * The first time UAB has beaten a team ranked in the top eight (No. 8 Marquette, 83-76, 3/13/03) since it defeated Cincinnati on Jan. 21, 1996. * The first time a first-year coach at UAB has won 20 games. * The first time in school history a first-year head coach has had a winning percentage over .600 (.618). * The first time UAB has won 21 games in a season since the 1997-98 campaign. * The first time UAB has won a game in the NIT since it defeated Missouri (93-86) in 1998. * The first time the Blazers reached the quarterfinals of the NIT since the 1993 season.
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