The Missouri Tigers announced tragic news on Friday with head coach Gary Pinkel revealing that he will be resigning from his post at season’s end for health reasons. Pinkel was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May of 2015, the school revealed on its website, and the coach will step away from football to focus on his health and his family leaving a lasting legacy at Missouri that will long be remembered.
Under Pinkel, Missouri has made great strides as a program. They transitioned from the Big 12 to the SEC and went to back-to-back SEC championships under Pinkel, though they are out of contention this season. The Missouri coach is the school’s all-time winningest coach in program history with a record of 117-71 over 15 seasons.
Pinkel has quietly been one of the best coaches in college football for years but sometimes things are bigger than football. The coach has kept his decision to walk away under wraps despite knowing for sure that this would be his last season since October 27. He wanted to coach as long as he was able and healthy and entered the season reportedly feeling strong.
He knew that he would reassess his condition throughout the season and would have to make a decision about his future during the 2015 season. It’s been a tumultuous one for the Tigers with players being suspended, the university going through a tumultuous transition with the school president, and a potential boycott by the football team (which Pinkel supported).
Losing their head coach will be the capstone to a difficult year for the football program. But at the end of the day, Pinkel’s health and his family take precedence over football. Here’s hoping for a full recovery for the Missouri coach.