When accepting the boys basketball position at Boonville High School for the 2019-20 season, Jefferson City coach Mark Anderson referred back to his days of coaching the Knob Noster Panthers and Moberly Spartans.
Not that Anderson didn’t enjoy his two year stint at Jefferson City High School from 2017-2019, he said Boonville was just a good fit for him.
Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles agrees.
“We are excited with the experience that Mark has,” Shikles said. “Mark knows this area very well as far as basketball goes and he is very well respected in the basketball realm. We are more than excited to have him lead our boys basketball program in the future.”
While coaching at Knob Noster from 2007-2010, Anderson’s teams finished with a record of 55-27 with a top 10 finish in the state in Class 3 inb 2009. That same season, the Panthers shared the MRVC East title, captured the program’s first district title since 1993, won the program’s first ever sectional game and was named the Sedalia Democrat Boys Basketball Coach of the Year and KMZU’s Dream Team Class 3 Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, at Moberly from 2010-2017, the Spartans finished 125-54 in seven seasons and also helped Anderson become the winningest coach in Moberly history during that span. In addition, Moberly won the NCMC title in 2014-15 and again in 2015-16. That same season in 2014-15, the Spartans were crowned district champions and finished ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 4. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, Anderson was also selected as the Northeast Region Class 4 Media Coach of the Year.
Anderson also coached the Moberly boys tennis team during his tenure at Moberly.
Of course it all started for Anderson back in 2000-2005, where he coached eighth grade boys basketball in the Jefferson City Public School District. Anderson remained in that position until 2005-2007, where he was the Jefferson City High School boys freshmen coach and head tennis coach. As the tennis coach, Anderson’s teams finished 39-14 in dual matches in three seasons and had a 19-2 record in 2007. The Jays also ended Rock Bridge’s 62 match home win streak that season and made a state quarterfinal appearance in 2005.
At Jefferson City High School the past two seasons, the Jays finished 21-28 under Anderson.
The following is a question and answer with Coach Anderson about the Boonville basketball program:
Q: You coached at Jefferson City the last two years and Moberly for seven years prior to that, why did you take this job at Boonville?
A: I really enjoyed my time at Moberly and at Knob Noster and I think the fit here is really going to be good. I am really excited about the players that are coming back. I had a chance to watch a little bit of film on them and I have talked to some guys I know really know that coached against them. I have also known Chris Shikles for years and I have heard great things about it. Obviously I played here plenty of times when I was at Moberly so I have a really good impression of the place and I am excited to be here.
Q: Did you want to go to a smaller program?
A: Like I said I had a lot of fun at Moberly. At Jefferson City there was a lot of adminstrative stuff and of course the school is going to split next year so it’s going to be half the size and I thought it was a good time to move on and I thought this was a good fit.
Q: What do you want to do offensively and defensively at Boonville?
A: Historically, I am a man to man guy and typically a motion offense guy. We’ll let kids play and give them some structure and principles and things like that. I have done lots of different types of things, we’ve played some zone from year to year when personnel dictated it and we’ve pressed when I have had the ability to do that. I think there is a lot of talent that is here from what I have seen. It’s a team that could do some things really similar to what my teams at Moberly and Knob Noster did offensively and I think they can pressure a little bit but we’ll iron that stuff out.
Q: What are your short-term goals?
A: Our goals I’m sure are to win a conference and district championship and beyond that we’ll talk to the players when we kind of sit down but that’s what our goals will be.
Q: What are your long term goals?
A: I don’t talk about goals as much as I used to. I probably talk more about what we need to do to get better and building relationships, getting kids in the gym, playing hard and playing together and all of those type of things. I think if you do that the goals kind of take care of themselves.
Q: What is your take on the Tri-County Conference?
A: It’s good. We played Blair Oaks this year and they beat us in overtime. When I was Knob Noster, and Moberly to, we played a lot of teams from the Tri-County. We played California and Eldon from time to time. Hallsville has a good program. I know Andy Jensen from Southern Boone I know they are really, really good and have been recently. It’s a really good solid conference and a lot of tough games night in and night out.
Q: You talked a little bit about the offense and defense earlier, can you go further into what type of program you want to impliment?
A: I have pressed in the past and I like to press. We have the ability to and depth to do that but sometimes its dictated by personnel, but from my initial impression of what we have here, I think it’s a team that probably can get out and press a little bit. I have pressed kind of some 2-2-1 in the past, I have been more aggressive sometimes but it’s something that I would love to do if we have the ability to do it. In terms of offensive pace it’s certainly not North Carolina and probably not quite Virginia either, but I like to make sure we get good shots and get the ball swung side to side and share it.
Q: What is your philosophy on basketball?
A: I told the kids when we met, you want to play hard, play together and you want to share the ball and get down and guard. But I really do mean those things. If you are asking me what we are hanging our hat on, we are going to guard people. If you go back and look at what we did at Moberly when we were really good, we were constantly leading the conference in points allowed defensively. I think if you do that night in and night out, you are going to be in games. There are going to be nights when you don’t hit shots but if you can guard people than you are always going to be in the game. I also keep track of where we are on the boards. I want to make sure we are out-rebounding teams, that’s another way that you win games. Hit some easy baskets. All of those things contribute to winning and those are all things that we want to make sure we do.
Q: How important is the middle school programs to you?
A: It will be a little bit more manageable at Boonville than what it was in Jefferson City. There were so many schools that you had to keep track of. I have known Jaryt (Hunziker) for a long time and I am really looking forward to working with him. We will sit down and talk about what we can do to make sure the middle schools are working well and the youth programs, so all of that is on my agenda.
Q: What about the summer. Do you like to have open gyms and takes teams to play in shootouts?
A: Obviously you get 20 days in the summer where you can work with the kids. I have an idea of some things that we want to do. Talking to the players earlier we talked about going over and playing at Central Methodist because I have done that at places. We have done camps where other teams come in and workout together. That may be something we want to do more the first year so I can actually get a sense of seeing them play. We want to make sure we work around football schedules and baseball schedules because a lot of kids dip their toes in multiple sports. That was certainly something we dealt with at Moberly a lot. In Jefferson City it was more specialization, which probably happens a lot more in bigger schools.
Q: In football you get your Xs and Os coaches, how are you in basketball when it comes to drawing up plays for the players?
A: I am not as big at drawing up plays and things like that but I love watching basketball. Jaryt and I are already excited that we are going to be able to sit down and talk basketball throughout the day. He is as big of a basketball junkie as I am.
Q: Was there anything else that played a part in you coming to Boonville?
A: I heard a lot about the program, administration and building. Another thing is competing in a conference.  Jeff City was an independent so that’s one thing that’s really nice about coming to Boonville is having that conference race and the rivalries with some of those schools and getting on the bus at night and checking out who won and I really miss that. The recognition for the kids to be all-conference was also big.
Anderson grew up and graduated from Warrenton High School.