Missouri will be in the market for a new basketball coach this spring.
In a news release Sunday, the school announced that Kim Anderson will step down as head coach at the end of the 2016-2017 season, through the request of Athletic Director Jim Sterk.
"This decision has been very difficult for me personally because of the tremendous respect I have for Kim," Sterk said in the release. "I know how hard he and his staff have worked to turn the program around over the last three years, however, the lack of on-court success has resulted in a significant drop in interest surrounding our program, and we could not afford for that to continue another year."
The Tigers had just wrapped up their regular season Saturday with an 89-78 loss to Auburn, dropping Missouri to a 7-23 record on the season. Anderson was 26-57 as head coach of his alma mater.
He was hired in April 2014, a month after leading Central Missouri to the Division II National Championship. He was tasked with stabilizing a Missouri program that was losing multiple players to the NBA and to transfer after former coach Frank Haith left for Tulsa.
The Anderson era got off to a rocky start in 2014, as the Tigers lost to instate University of Missouri-Kansas City 69-61 in Anderson's first game. Missouri never got the most out of its No. 11 rated recruiting class, according to 247sports.com, as the Tigers went 9-23.
By the end of the second year of Anderson's tenure, where Missouri went 10-21, all of the 2014 class had departed.
In year three, Missouri fell short of expectations once again. Its 23 losses included North Carolina Central, Eastern Illinois and Lipscomb, all of which happened on Norm Stewart Court.
The team fell into a tailspin after winning on Dec. 6 against Miami (OH), losing the next 13 games. The Tigers were winless for the entire month of January.
Just two weeks ago, Missouri fans packed into Mizzou Arena for its bout against then-No. 11 Kentucky on Feb. 21. Despite the effort in the 72-62 loss, Tiger fans did not return with the same intensity on senior night against Texas A&M.
In what would be Anderson's last game as Missouri's coach, the silent Tiger crowd watched their team lose 60-43.
Team spokesman Patrick Crawford said Anderson will remain as coach through the SEC Tournament, which begins Wednesday.
"Missouri is a special institution to my family and I, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve as the head coach at my alma mater," Anderson said. “While we have faced significant challenges over the last three years and been unable to achieve the on-court results everyone would have liked, I do believe we have been able to stabilize the program while watching our players become responsible young men on and off the court."
Thirteen players have left under Anderson's watch since he took over in April 2014. Sterk will make his first head coach hire as Missouri's athletic director.
"A national search will begin immediately to identify and recruit the very best person to lead Mizzou Basketball into the future and we will utilize the services of a search consultant to assist in the identification and evaluation of candidates who are capable of returning our program to national prominence,” he said.
Missouri plays Wednesday in the first round of the SEC Tournament as a No. 14 seed. The Tigers will have a rematch with Auburn at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network.