Due To Health Concerns, University Of Missouri’s Head Football Coach Announces Resignation

Mizzou’s head football coach, Gary Pinkel, released a statement on his resignation due to health restrictions Friday evening (Nov. 13). The team and staff were also notified of the decision today, which will take place after the season’s end on Dec. 31, or until the team and administration can find a new coach.

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Pinkel was diagnosed with lymphoma in May and received treatment immediately, FOX 2 Now reports. He decided to take this time to focus on his health and family, writing in the statement, “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.”

This news arrives a few days after the university’s president, Tim Wolfe, resigned from his position. The football team launched a strike until Wolfe stepped down, which Pinkel voiced his support for. Now, the team will take the field at Saturday’s home game against the BYU Cougars.

Mizzou was in the news recently after Black students took a pivotal stand against the racist encounters on the campus that have gone unnoticed by the administration. The protests also sparked national movements at other schools from Yale University to Ithaca College.

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Read Pinkel’s entire statement below.

“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,” Pinkel said.  “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. 26th for reassessment, and then visited with my family and came to the decision on October 27th 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,” he said.

“It’s been an honor working with Gary since I joined the Mizzou family,” said Rhoades.  “Gary is truly a coaching legend as the winningest coach at two Division I institutions while leaving a profound impact on a countless number of young men. We are extremely appreciative of all that he has done for Mizzou. It’s tough emotionally knowing that his fight with cancer is bringing his run to an end sooner than any of us thought.  I want to commend Gary with how open he’s been with me the whole time, from the first day he came to my office in May and told me about his diagnosis, all the way to now and when he met with me personally on October 28th to tell me he’d made up his mind.  He’s been nothing but first class in how he’s handled the situation the whole way.”

“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.  “So many people have bigger struggles with other forms of cancer and other serious diseases, and I feel blessed that I’ve got something I can fight and still enjoy a good quality of life.  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,” he said.

“Words can’t express how grateful I am to the University of Missouri and all of the amazing people who make it up, from the administration to the students and our fans.  Obviously, I’m so appreciative to all of my coaches and athletes.  Leaving them makes this decision so tough, but I do so feeling good that the Mizzou Football program is in a better place than it was when we came in 15 years ago.  I feel that Mizzou is a great job at a great school and has so much going for it that they’ll find an outstanding coach to move the program forward,” Pinkel said.