Gary Pinkel: I'd planned to coach for a "long, long time"
COLUMBIA - A tearful Gary Pinkel said Monday telling his football team he had lymphoma and was retiring was "awful" and "remarkably emotional."
"I was a wreck," The Mizzou head coach said at a news conference at Mizzou Arena.
Pinkel said, for now, he will embrace healthy times and will battle the tough times, which lie ahead.
Getting cancer is "so numbing," he said. You just look yourself in the mirror and say "You've got to be kidding me," he said.
He noted a conversation he had after learning of his illness, saying a friend asked whether Pinkel would rather die on a football field or die on a beach.
"I'd rather die on a beach," he said.
But he also noted he is a long way away from that happening, saying there are people out there with cancer who are a lot worse off than him. He said his heart goes out to them.
Pinkel wiped tears from his eyes as he wrapped up his prepared remarks and began taking questions.
He said he had planned to coach for a long, long time but doesn't want to be a distraction to his players.
Pinkel began his tenure at Mizzou on November 30, 2000 and his record is currently 117-71 through 15 seasons. He will finish his career as the winningest coach in school history and his 190 career wins is currently the 19th-most in NCAA FBS history.
When a reporter asked him about his legacy, Pinkel said he never thinks about "stuff like that."
He said his main concern is that “at the end of the day, we did the right things for kids.”
Pinkel will remain at his position until December 31, 2015, or until a replacement has been found.