Gary Pinkel is set to enter his 11th season as the head coach at Missouri. Since 2005, the Tigers have finished with records of 7-5, 8-5, 12-2, 10-4, 8-5, and 10-3.
As Spring practice approaches, Pinkel explained the transformation to a winning program in a Q&A with the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Pinkel said, “The reason we’re having success here is not because I’m a great football coach. It’s because we have a lot of great people here. It’s a place that became committed to winning. Mike Alden building facilities. Intelligent scheduling. And a great university. Everybody’s been talking about Missouri forever. I heard that for 15 years before I came here about what a great job it was even when they were struggling.”
“But to continue to flip the attitude and to continue to get national prominence, it’s all the stuff we’re doing, continuing to build and continuing to invest in the facilities, keep winning and keep graduating your players. Eventually, you change attitudes.”
"I think it’s everything. It’s recruiting. It’s facilities. It’s how you market your program. It’s the consistency of doing things over and over and over again at a high level. It’s graduating your players. It’s winning games. That’s how you change. And that’s how you grow."
Pinkel and his staff have flipped the perception of the program.
“You go back when we first got here, and they had two winning seasons in 16, 18 years, whatever it was. Back then, when we brought a 17-year-old kid in here, all he knows is that Missouri loses. They’d been losing for years and years, so he doesn’t’ have a very good attitude. Now, you flip it. I’m talking to this guy, and all he remembers is that Missouri always wins.”
Consistency in leadership has been critical.
Pinkel explained, “What I’m saying is it’s the consistency of doing it over and over again.… To me, it’s a little bit like Virginia Tech. (Beamer) stayed there. He could have left many times. And I think he’s been there 22 years now. And now all of a sudden Virginia Tech is considered a national football team. And it wasn’t 15 years ago.”
Without Blaine Gabbert, the Tigers will try to do it again in 2011. The non-conference schedule includes Miami (OH), at Arizona State, and Western Illinois.