Gary Pinkel will resign at the end of the season due to health reasons, he announced Friday. In his 15th season with the program, Pinkel will remain on through the end of the season, or until a new coach is hired. The school noted the coach and AD Mack Rhoades are discussing a position for Pinkel that would allow him to remain associated with the athletics department.
Missouri faces BYU Saturday in Kansas City, then closes with Tennessee in Columbia and Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Tigers (4-5, 1-5 SEC) need to win two of those three to qualify for their third straight bowl game and 10th in the last 11 seasons.
"Pinkel's decision is health-based, as he was diagnosed in May of 2015 with lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood," the school said in a statement. "He received multiple treatments in May and June, and after doctors indicated that the treatments wouldn't interfere with his coaching duties, he decided that he would continue to coach the Tigers in 2015."
Said Pinkel: "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. I felt great going into the season, but also knew that I would need to re-assess things at some point, and I set our bye week as the time when I would take stock of the future. After we played Vanderbilt (Oct. 24), I had a scheduled PET scan on Oct. 26for reassessment, and then visited with my family and came to the decision on October 27 that this would be my last year coaching. I still feel good physically, but I decided that I want to focus on enjoying my remaining years with my family and friends, and also have proper time to battle the disease and give full attention to that."
The announcement comes at the end of a tumultuous week on the Missouri campus, MU system president Tim Wolfe and MU chancellor R. Bowen Loftin vacated their posts after campus-wide uproar crested with the football team's strike over the weekend.
The all-time wins leader at both Toledo and Missouri, Pinkel posted a 73-37-3 mark while leading the Rockets from 1991-00. He jumped to Missouri in 2001 and led the Tigers to a 117-71 mark in 15-plus seasons.
Under Pinkel's guidance, Mizzou posted 10 bowl appearances, two Big 12 North championships, two SEC East championships and two top five finishes.
With the move, Missouri becomes the 11th FBS program to make a change already this season. There were only 15 changes across FBS in 2014-15.
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