MISSOURI CHOSE a familiar face yesterday as its new men's basketball coach.

Kim Anderson is a former star player and longtime aide to former Missouri coach Norm Stewart. He won a Division II championship at Central Missouri this season and replaces Frank Haith, who left for Tulsa earlier this month.

"He's a man of great character, integrity and respect," athletic director Mike Alden said. "The fact that he's a Missouri Tiger at heart is important."

The 58-year-old Anderson was the NABC national coach of the year this season after going 30-5, molding a roster that had just one returning player who averaged more than 4.7 points per game. He takes over a program that settled for the NIT this season after losing seven of its last eight to end the regular season, and with several key players likely not coming back.

Anderson compared the situation to the one he faced when he was hired at Central Missouri 12 years ago and "the program had lost its identity."

"I see that same opportunity here at Missouri," Anderson said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us and that work starts today, but as a Missourian I embrace this challenge and look forward to bringing championship basketball back."

Anderson was 274-94 at Central Missouri, a .743 winning percentage, and is among the top 10 in career winning percentage in Division II.

Anderson helped Missouri win the Big Eight in 1976 and was conference player of the year in 1977.

In other college news:

* The family of San Jose State football player Jared Leaf said the linebacker is in critical condition after suffering burns to his body while escaping from a fire in his apartment near campus last week. Leaf is being treated at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Burn Center.

Philly File

* La Salle freshman Chris Sanders was named Atlantic 10 men's track & field rookie of the week for the third week in a row after impressive performances at the Penn Relays.