OTC: Is Gary Pinkel’s Job At Mizzou Already In Jeopardy? Is The SEC A Coach Killer?

“5-7 is not going to get the man fired, but it’s going to put a lot of spotlight on him going into next year.”
Soren Petro, on the status of Gary Pinkel at Mizzou as he and his Tigers are off to a rough start as new members of the SEC, 810 AM
GH: Should Gary Pinkel be concerned about his job as Missouri’s head football coach? Is that crazy talk or the reality of the pressures that follow him and the Tigers into big-time, and even bigger-money SEC football? Read on.

“Is Gary Pinkel the guy to take Missouri to the next place – and is Missouri capable of going to the next place?”
Blair Kerkhoff, 810 AM
GH: Let’s attack Kerkhoff’s two questions backward. Is Missouri capable of competing for SEC championships? Skeptics will say – and rightly so – that Mizzou never won a Big 12 title and should not expect to win an SEC title anytime soon. Hard to argue with that logic. But Missouri has an edge over many SEC schools in terms of state population and the lack of another in-state DI football program. The recipe for success is there. Many believe MU simply needs their version of Bill Snyder or Les Miles or Nick Saban to turn corn and cattle into gold.

“You and I were talking off the air. This man is going through some personal issues right now.”
Jack Harry, to Kevin Kietzman, discussing Gary Pinkel, 810 AM
GH: Pinkel has had a rough 10 months. He was arrested for DUI in November and then announced his divorce from his wife of almost 40 years in April. Now his football team is staring at a season-defining game this Saturday at Central Florida.

“I am saddened to say that my wife and I separated at the beginning of this year. Thank you to family and friends who have shown us support. I would ask that you please respect the privacy of the entire Pinkel family during this difficult time.”
Gary Pinkel, in a statement he released last April
GH: The 60-year-old Pinkel met his wife when both were students at Kent State and married her before his senior year in 1973. Not a lot of 40-year-old marriages go bad – or bad enough to end in divorce. Did Pinkel’s DUI in November have anything to do with his divorce? Has his divorce had anything to do with his ability to be a successful football coach? Tough questions – but when you coach in the SEC and get paid the big bucks, your personal life better not affect your football life. Just ask Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino.

“I’ve been doing this a long time…”
Gary Pinkel, responding to a number of different questions posed by a number of different interviewers over the past two weeks
GH: Pinkel has fallen into using this phrase almost as often as he says something is “remarkable.” I have never heard Pinkel be more defensive than he has this season. He’s edgier and sounds less confident. The SEC ain’t for everybody.

“I don’t want to make any predictions [about Missouri football]. I think time will tell. They’ve got a tough game this week, I saw in the paper. Are they underdogs going down to Central Florida, somebody told me? UCF’s a good team down there. I think we all have to play the season out. Some teams get better as the season goes along. Some get worse. We just got to wait it all out and see what happens.”
Steve Spurrier, when asked about Missouri’s future in the SEC, Columbia Tribune
GH: No coach is more confident or ready to say what’s on his mind than Spurrier. He is beating around the goal post here with Missouri but it is obvious he isn’t ready to call MU a primetime SEC player.

“From a scheduling standpoint, we’d never schedule Arizona State in between [Georgia and South Carolina], that would never happen. We recognize, you know, that in this league you’re going to play SEC games right off the bat in September, but scheduling non-conference games right – as we’ll be able to do in the future – at least gives you a better opportunity to do things the right way. I call it intelligent scheduling.”
Gary Pinkel, Kansas City Star
GH: I hate this kind of public declaration from a head coach that his program wants nothing to do with a quality non-con schedule. It is not like Arizona State is Ohio State, Southern Cal or Oklahoma. The Sun Devils are a middle-of-the-barrel PAC 12 team that Mizzou should be looking to scalp yearly – not trying to avoid in favor of Minnesota State.

“Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings have Missouri’s strength of schedule No. 1 in the country through four weeks of the season.”
Dave Matter, Columbia Tribune
GH: Here is the good news for Mizzou fans – the Tigers have played some damn good opponents in 2012. Their two losses are to teams that many believe will be ranked in the top ten for much of the season. The Tigers have time to get some statement wins – at Tennessee, at Florida and then clean house on Vandy, Kentucky, Syracuse and A&M. 9-3 would be good enough to add five more years to Pinkel’s contract that expires in 2017…or quite a bit sooner if things continue to go south in the life and times of this rookie SEC coach.

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About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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21 Responses to OTC: Is Gary Pinkel’s Job At Mizzou Already In Jeopardy? Is The SEC A Coach Killer?

  1. Gavin says:

    When the bloom was fading from Mark Mangino and he hadn’t done very much to capitalize on the success of 2007, some people were starting to call for Mark Mangino’s head. I wasn’t one of them, but I understood where they were coming from. Later that year he got fired but I have no doubt that any of the players complaining about him would have been told to shut up or get out had the Jayhawks been winning g that year. I also think that Lew Perkins really wanted to try and make a signature hire so firing Mangino was pretty easy for him. And Perkins got to make his signature hire, gid help us all.

    Anyway, when people suggested to Soren Petro that Mangino ought to go Petro always asked the same question: OK, so you fire Mangino. Who do you get to replace him? Who is better than Mangino that is going to be willing to come in and take the KU job? Petro’s point was that firing Mangino wasn’t guaranteed to bring in a better guy and dear god he was right about that.

    So if MU is going to fire Pinkel, and I’m agnostic on the issue, who do they get to replace him that will be better than What Pinkel has turned out. I’m not saying they won’t get anyone because they might hit a home run with the next guy. But Pinkel has taken Mizzou to a much higher level than they were before he got there. As KU fans know, the replacement guy isn’t always guaranteed to be an upgrade.

    • Greg Hall says:

      Mizzou is upgrading their stadium, their minor sports facilities and even their campus buildings due to the move to the SEC. It is not a stretch to think they will look to upgrade their head football coach if he struggles over the next two seasons. Life is hard in the SEC, but there will be no shortage of candidates who would like to take on the challenge if Pinkel gets axed. Don’t you think Bobby Petrino wants back in? Lots of pretty coeds in Columbia.

      • Gavin says:

        “Mizzou is upgrading their stadium, their minor sports facilities and even their campus buildings due to the move to the SEC. ”

        That sounds a lot like a school I know and love that did all of those things while Mangino was still there. Not the minor sports facilities so much, but I refuse to believe that a high-level, experienced D-1 coach is going to come to a school because the softball team got better facilities. KU pretty much did everything it could short of a new stadium and those dividends have yet to start paying. And even massive stadium improvements were on Perkins’ list before he left the building.

        Lookit, I’m not saying that Mizzou won’t be able to get a new coach and one who will be an upgrade. All I’m saying is that they need to be careful before they fire Pinkel. 5-7 this year may seem like an unpardonable sin, but that’s how Mangino finished and it got us Turner Gill. I doubt that Mizzou would be so stupid as to hire Turner Gill, but who’s to say they wouldn’t hire Tommy Tuberville or Woody Widenhofer? Petrino looks pretty good, I admit, but how does Mizzou know they can get him? You think Mizzou will be the only coach in the hunt for his services?

      • The Word says:

        If they do fire Pinkel they need to do it now. Petrino is going to go to either KY or Tenn depending on how Dooley does. This time next year he will have a job.

        • harley says:

          love petrino….mu fans are seeing the sec football
          programs are filled with reality tv material.
          i heard from georgia fans some of the things that
          go on down there and let me put it ths way…sec
          football is full of stories like petrino….
          it’s going to be a long road for mu…but with patiences
          and continued solid recruiting they will be an eventual
          force in sec football…

      • harley says:

        First of all let me point this out to my fans and readers on
        this site….I was the first to point out that Mizzou would
        eventually leave the big 12…I was the first to point out that
        Mizzou would leave the big 12 even after the Big 10 debacle..
        I posted information about the positive affects the move to
        the sec would have on MU and i was reporting facts about the
        stadium and the enhanced income revenues and the
        trust funds that paid into the stadium and facilities
        improvement. So essentially while the other media/”experts”
        were way off on what was happening I was in the forefront with
        stats/data and information on what was really happening.
        Petro knows nothing. If you read my posts on other
        sites I outline in very accurate detail what I predicted and
        what was to come about.
        MU spent so much time…effort and good will after the
        announcement of their move that they forgot to focus on the
        job at hand. As I consistently pointed out MU was so enamored
        with the move that they forgot to focus on what was really
        important. They received the #1 high school prospect. They
        got big headlines across the nation about their upgraded
        recruiting. And headlines spoke about the revenue increases
        that would come with the move. MU took their eye off
        playing football. They read too many of their own headlines.
        This probably took their focus from preparing for the new
        SEC teams while they danced in their new found glory.
        MU football has always been a roller coaster event. As an
        avid MU alumni, I and many other mu fans are accustomed to
        the highs and lows of their football program. Beat Alabama
        one week…lose to the worst team in a second tier league the
        next. Highs and lows were part of being an MU fan.
        This season so far, you can see the unease and the uncomfortable situation the team was put in. The first game
        versus georgia…the game versus south carolina…for those
        watching anything less than an SEC title for MU would be
        a disappointment. If you observed their play, you’d see they
        were outplayed and outhustled. Play calling was ragged.
        Receivers were not doing their correct routes. An injury
        to Franklin and the publicity of that injury added to the
        confusion. In other words, MU fell victim to their own
        success off the field.
        I have analyzed the team at length and determined that it
        could take 2-3 years of recruiting and play for MU to reach the
        level of the upper tier SEC teams. The talent they brought
        with them this year was above average in the Big 12 but in the
        SEC its bottom tier. Recruiting is going well…but the teams
        needs a 2-3 year recruiting period to totally upgrade their
        talent versus the top 4 or 5 SEC teams. Let me remind you
        that great coaches like Spurrier did not achieve instant suceess
        in the sec…it took years to upgrade their talent. So Mu fans
        must be patient as the overall talent ugrades itself. It will not
        happen overnight.
        Of course to compete MU needs to upgrade other areas also.
        The fan support of sec teams is beyond anything seen in
        the big 12. Football is a religion in the sec. Missour fans
        need to capture that intense excitement that you feel when
        you visit other sec campuses on game day. And the truth is
        that it may not happen. Then you have Franklin who if
        analyzed coompletely you would see is a subpar quarterback.
        Poor arm strength…on top of the fact that he has a recurring
        injury. Add to that the fact that they had no backup and you
        can see why mu has a 2-2 record.
        I predict that as the season progresses they will get much
        better and more comfortable in the sec. It was a huge jump
        for them to the sec and it takes time to acclimate yourself to
        the faster/bigger/stronger sec league.
        They will be fine. Gary will be fine. They just need to get
        their rhythm straightened out. With a little more experience
        against the sec teams and eventually with the talent upgrade
        and being forced to play at a higher level in their new league
        they will be fine. It’s their first year in totally new surroundings and league.
        Petro shoots his mouth off too often. He has no track record
        on this subject of being right. Everyone at 810 should just
        not try and make themselves look like fools when talking about
        mu. Coaches/teams/schools evolve as they make changes.
        MU is just a little shaky right now but i predict that this move
        will be a huge success athletically.
        For those of my followers and readers who read about the
        financial advantages to this move they fully understand the
        real reasons for this change.
        MU will be fine.
        Gary will be fine.
        The university has experienced one of the greatest years in
        it’s history with this move. The revenues are huge. Much
        greater than they would have gotten if they stayed in the
        Big 12. The SEC is in a league of their own. MU will be
        there. But it will take time and patience.
        People Sowrong Petro only add to the fire with their
        absurd comments.

        • Todd McNair says:

          actually revenues are almost identical to Big 12. They’re essentially a trophy wife for the SEC powers – look ok, offer a place to visit but will NEVER pipe up and assert themselves. And thankfully, the last time they did assert themselves before leaving the Big 12, they ensured equal revenues and long-term stability for the 10 current conference members. thanks Tigers!

          • harley says:

            todd…i’ll say you’re wrong on the revenues..
            the licensing rights…gate receipts…fundraising..tv packages….and about
            4 outher revenue streams…they will make
            about 20-25 million more in sec than in 12…
            but more importantly i can report that there
            is a huge jump in revenues to the university..
            mu is growing like never before,,,its hitting
            its peak…students are on waiting lists to gert
            into mu…money is flowing in like never before
            from alumni…and their funraising is thru
            the roof….the sec move was a huge huge
            financial windfall for mu.
            and kU….CAN’T PAY THEIR BILLS…HAD TO
            AND NOW…the drop out rate and flunk out
            rate AT KU WAS SO BIG THAT THEY ARE
            so for the little ku school…sure they got
            a little more money..which they need since
            even bill self is hacked off the football program
            isn’t contributing their share to the athletic
            programs overall. KU is shutting down athletic
            programs…cutting back…so in no way are you
            correct inssaying this was not a magnificent
            move on mu’s part.
            I’ll be reporting on more exciting things happening at mu soon…because mu is about
            to add to their business school to make it the
            Don’t know you todd but if you have read my
            local and national blogs you know that I know
            what i’m talking about.
            Oh and that long term stability…did you see
            where Texas is again looking for an outlet for
            the texas network..when that fails and espn
            bails on that money losing venture the big
            12 will fall apart.
            a doubt he’s the best coach in america..best
            recruiter in america…and he’s worth every
            penny for the classiest guy in college bball.
            For your information..I live in joco and am
            now followunbg jayhawk bball with the
            entire rest of my family and friend out here
            in kansas….
            take care…have a great day.
            Now hop[efully mu can get it together against

  2. JFP says:

    “The Sun Devils are a middle-of-the-barrel PAC 12 team that Mizzou should be looking to scalp yearly – not trying to avoid in favor of Minnesota State.”

    Funny, here I thought Mizzou was a middle-of-the-barrel SEC team.

  3. Ward says:

    “Should Gary Pinkel be concerned about his job as Missouri’s head football coach? ” – No.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to silly questions….

  4. Smartman says:

    Bill Snyder gets kids to play over their heads. Gary Pinkel can’t get kids to play up to their potential. If Mizzou is gonna get serious about SEC football they need a new coach. All you have to do is watch how Miles, Saban and Spurrier prowl the sidelines and coach during the game and then watch “hic” Pinkel. He ain’t got what they’ve got. A fire burnin in the belly, that feels better the hotter it gets. Gary Pinkel is like Hamlet on the sidelines…..to be, or to to be a coach….that is the question?

  5. tigerdan4 says:

    Pinkel has done enough, IMO, at Mizzou to survive not one but two losing seasons. I’ll give him this year as a mulligan. But another bad year in 2013, then he’s got to go. I still think we’ll be fine this year. We’ll win 7 and keep our bowl streak alive. There’s enough winnable games left to get there. Vandy & Kentucky & Syracuse should all be wins at home. That’s 5. We always win at A&M. That’s 6. Win one at either UCF or Tennessee, there’s 7.

    • Smartman says:

      If MU doesn’t finish the season ranked in the Top 20, recruiting is gonna suck like the vortex of a CAT5 hurricane. I wonder if DGB is having second thoughts.

      • harley says:

        80 yard touchdown pass…not bad for a true freshman.
        the guy will be huge. I just think they’re trying tovfigure
        out how to use him.
        Overall mu looked much better and franklin had zip on the
        ball. Still, they look a little skittish.
        A little bit of not having full confidence in their game.
        It seems to be getting better but they have to start clicking
        real fast or they have a tough second half of season..
        I think they’ll get better after all the distractions have died
        I predicted around july that they would have a tough
        time in the sec the first year. SEC is bigger…faster…
        tougher…than anything they’ve seen on a consistent

  6. Todd McNair says:

    HARLEY – Do you do a lot of drugs?

    • Todd McNair says:

      Also – I’m in Columbia and I swore I just watched a UCF running back scoot past my window, holding a football like a fifth of Gary’s pre-game meal.

      • harley says:

        sorry todd…mu and cent. florida played IN ORLANDO!!!
        Maybe you’re the one on the drugs at noon on a saturday!!!
        Maybe cut back todd…if you saw someone from ucf running
        past your window saturday it was a figment of your
        Remember…a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Especially
        have a great day. Go chiefs

        • Todd McNair says:

          the joke is Missouri’s defense. They were willing to let a Knights back run all the way to…. I’ll let you figure it out. Enjoy the Weedeater Bowl buddy!