Mizzou Football Head Coach Gary Pinkel to Resign
COLUMBIA, MO - University of Missouri Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel to resign at the end of the 2015 season. The announcement was made by Athletic Director Mack Rhoades today. Pinkel will remain at his position until December 31, 2015, or until a replacement has been found.
The decision is health based as Pinkel, 63, was diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood, in May of 2015.
"I made the decision in May, after visiting with my family, that I wanted to keep coaching, as long as I felt good and had the energy I needed," Pinkel said. "After we played Vanderbilt (Oct. 24), I had a scheduled PET scan on Oct. 26th for reassessment, and then visited with my family and came to the decision on October 27th that this would be my last year coaching."
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.
Also the winningest coach in Toledo's school history, Pinkel finished with a 73-37-3 record between 1991-2000. At the start of the season Pinkel and South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier were the only two active head coaches to lead two different schools in wins. Spurrier retired earlier this season.
"I want to make very clear that I'm not doing poorly, and that this is a manageable disease, but it's one that will never go away," Pinkel said. "So many people have bigger struggles with other forms of cancer and other serious diseases, and I feel blessed that I've got something I can fight and still enjoy a good quality of life. I don't know how many years I have left, but I want to turn my focus to life outside of the daily grind of football."
Pinkel led the Tigers to conference division titles in both the Big 12 and the SEC for a total of five times. The Tigers have also made it to 10 bowl games and have finished in the top-20 in the final rankings five times during Pinkel's time at Mizzou.
The Tigers have had winning seasons in 10 of the last 14 seasons. Prior to Pinkel's arrival, Mizzou had only two winning seasons between 1984 and 2000. In 2007 Pinkel coached Missouri to the team's first number one national ranking since 1960 after defeating Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium on November 24, 2007. He was also voted National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf that same year.
"Words can't express how grateful I am to the University of Missouri and all of the amazing people who make it up, from the administration to the students and our fans. Obviously, I'm so appreciative to all of my coaches and athletes. Leaving them makes this decision so tough, but I do so feeling good that the Mizzou Football program is in a better place than it was when we came in 15 years ago. I feel that Mizzou is a great job at a great school and has so much going for it that they'll find an outstanding coach to move the program forward," Pinkel said.
Going into this season Pinkel had led the Tigers to back-to-back SEC Championship games and two bowl wins, winning the Cotton Bowl in 2013 and the Citrus Bowl in 2014. During his tenure at Mizzou, 32 players have been selected in the NFL Draft, including seven in the first round.
"It's been an honor working with Gary since I joined the Mizzou family," said Rhoades. "Gary is truly a coaching legend as the winningest coach at two Division I institutions while leaving a profound impact on a countless number of young men. We are extremely appreciative of all that he has done for Mizzou."
The Tigers (4-5) take on BYU (7-2) on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.