Attention Athletic Directors: I know the fan base wants you to fire your football coach, but you might want to hold them off for another year or two. Who knows, maybe the impatient fans will finally figure out that changing coaches every 4 years is not always the solution to the problem.
Long time Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is now retiring at the end of the season due to illness. Gary Pinkel has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
A situation like this will make you want to spend more time with your family and enjoy life. I cannot believe coaching football when things aren’t going so well is enjoying life and Gary Pinkel has
chosen to retire at the end of the season.
As of this moment, Pinkel has a career record of 190-108-3 record with 3 games left in their season. With a current record of 4-5 with games remaining with Brigham Young, Tennessee and Arkansas it’s pretty safe to assume he won’t finish with many more wins.
Part of the purpose of my blog is to write about historical events in college football. History was always my favorite subject in school and the history of college football is no different.
Some of my all time favorite coaches include Bear Bryant, Darrell Royal, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Bobby Bowden and Don James.
Everybody knows the first coaches I listed, but the last coach is probably not as well known. Don James coached the Washington Huskies back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I loved to watch the Huskies back in those days when he was coaching. They always played great defense and they were a little more wide open offensively than a lot of college teams for that time period, but they still ran the ball. Their offense featured star Quarterbacks like Warren Moon, Billy Joe Hobert and Mark Brunell.
Before Don James took the job at Washington, he was the head coach at Kent State. While there, he coached a couple of future coaches that you may have heard about, Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel.
Pinkel played Tight End for Don James and he wasn’t too bad. In 3 seasons, he caught 85 passes and he was part of a transformation in that program going from 3-8, to 6-5-1 and 9-2.
Maybe the best thing about Pinkel’s playing days at Kent State is that he was roommates with incredible NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker Jack Lambert.
Pinkel got his first head coaching job at Toledo in 1991 when he took over for Nick Saban, and he coached them for 10 seasons and a 73-37-3 record. In the 1995 season, the Toledo Rockets went undefeated at 11-0-1 and I don’t know why some big program didn’t snatch him up at that point. But, he lasted 5 more years at Toledo and his last season there was also impressive with a 10-1 record and then he did get hired away by the Missouri Tigers.
At Missouri, Pinkel was graciously handed a disaster of a program. Larry Smith was fired after the 2000 season after the Tigers had sputtered to a rather lame 3-8 season which had followed a 4-7 season.
In defense of Larry Smith, he took over at Missouri after they had suffered 10 losing seasons in a row. It had been a long, long time since the days of Dan Devine of Missouri’s better days in the 1960’s.
Gary Pinkel had his early struggles at Missouri just like his predecessors, but he got the program turned around and made them a prominent school in the SEC East.
He never won a conference title and needless to say a national title, but he had to beat Oklahoma and Texas when he was in the Big 12 and then the SEC champion when the Tigers switched conferences.
He did, however, win 5 division titles with 3 in the Big 12 and 2 in the SEC.
Nobody on the national level gave Missouri much of a chance at all in the mighty SEC, yet they won two division championships over much more heralded programs like Georgia and Florida. Missouri couldn’t quite get past Auburn and Alabama in the championship games, but Gary Pinkel put them in the game.
I am wishing and hoping for the best for Gary Pinkel. It’s never good for anyone to get sick and this is a terrible way for a great college football coaching career to come to an end.
I am hoping for a long and prosperous life for Pinkel.
I believe that makes 11 new college football programs needing head coaches and there are a few college Athletic Directors thinking about making moves as well. Normally, it’s football season and then the Bowl games start and then there’s recruiting and then Spring Football.
This year, we may have the regular season, the coaching hiring season, the bowl games, recruiting and then the Spring.
The University of Missouri is going through some turmoil right now because of alleged racial issues. The football team has been struggling this season with a current 4-5 record and now Gary Pinkel has announced he will resign. It’s not the best of times for this school.
Pinkel leaves as the most winning coach of all time for the Missouri Tigers and he will be missed.