COLUMBIA, MO (KPLR)- University of Missouri Football Coach Gary Pinkel will resign following the conclusion of the 2015 season. MU Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades says Pinkel informed his staff and team Friday.
Pinkel was diagnosed in May of 2015 with lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood. He received treatment in May and June and decided that he would continue to coach the Tigers in 2015.
In a news release Friday, Pinkel said:
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. 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.
Pinkel will remain as Mizzou's coach through December 31, 2015, or until a new head coach is in place. Rhoades said that Pinkel has been open about his diagnosis since the beginning.
Mizzou plays BYU in a game Saturday in Kansas City.
Pinkel took over the Mizzou football program on Nov. 30, 2000. He is the winningest coach in school history, with a 117-71 record in 15 seasons. The athletic director indicates that they are discussing a role that would keep Pinkel associated with Mizzou Athletics once he stops coaching.
Pinkel also said in his statement:
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.