by Jillian Gearin 11/19/15
University of Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel announced his retirement during a press conference on Monday. He will remain the head coach until December 31 or until a replacement is found.
Pinkel told the public Friday he was planning on stepping down from his position after the 2015 season in order to focus on his health. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in May and had gone through treatments in May and June.
Pinkel decided to finish out the season after the doctors informed him that his treatments would not prevent him from carrying out his coaching responsibilities.
The 63-year-old did not announce his diagnosis in the beginning of the season, as he did not want to be a distraction to his team and the program.
Pinkel started his career at Toledo in 1991 where he coached for 10 years. His record at Toledo is 73-37-3 and he left as the all-time winningest coach at the university.
After Toledo, he moved to Missouri where transformed the program. He will leave the Tigers as the winningest coach. In 15 seasons, Pinkel has accumulated a record of 117-71.
With Pinkel leading the program, Mizzou won five conference division titles, went 6-10 in bowl games, and finished in the top-20 national rankings five times where two of those were top-five finishes. The Tigers had 10 winning seasons during the 15 years under him after only having two winning seasons in 17 years before he took over the head coach position.
The turn around for the program earned him the National Coach of the Year award in 2007. He also won the conference coach of the year in 2007 in the Big 12 and in 2014 in the SEC.
Pinkel is working with University of Missouri Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades to find him a role that will keep him associated with athletics.
“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 in the press conference Monday. “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 said he still feels good physically but wants to enjoy his years with his family and friends and focusing on combating the disease.