Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel will resign at the end of the season due to health reasons, the school announced in a statement Friday. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in May and received multiple treatments in the offseason. After doctors said the treatments would not get in the way of coaching, he decided to coach the Tigers in 2015.
"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," Pinkel said 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."
Pinkel will remain the Tigers' head coach through December 31, 2015, or until a new coach is hired.
After I got good report at Mayo 3 weeks ago - I decided I wanted to embrace the good healthy times...— Coach Gary Pinkel (@GaryPinkel) November 13, 2015
As much as battle the tuff times. U can't do that working 6/7 days a week 9 months out of the year...— Coach Gary Pinkel (@GaryPinkel) November 13, 2015
Family and health first. Thx for thinking of me. GP— Coach Gary Pinkel (@GaryPinkel) November 13, 2015
A Kent State graduate, Pinkel worked his way up the coaching ladder with jobs around the country before earning Washington's offensive coordinator job under Don James in 1984. In 1991, Pinkel was hired as the head coach of Toledo, and posted a 73-37-3 record over 10 years with the Rockets, including one top-25 finish.
Pinkel was hired by Missouri prior to the 2001 season, and oversaw a very successful Big 12 stretch from 2007-10 before the team's transition to the SEC. The Tigers have won the SEC East in each of the past two seasons. He retires as the all-time winningest coach at both Missouri and Toledo.
When Pinkel took over, he inherited a Tigers program that had two winning seasons in the last 17 years. In his 14-plus seasons with the school, Missouri had 10 winning seasons. He recorded five of Mizzou's six 10-win seasons, two of its three top-5 rankings and six of the 15 bowl wins.
"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," he 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.