At some point Sunday evening, rumors began to surface that Gary Pinkel was on his way out as Missouri’s head coach.
Perhaps fueled by Mizzou’s disappointing first season in the SEC, the speculation went that Pinkel would step down in short order, perhaps as early as Monday. While school officials didn’t specifically respond to the rumor mill’s belchings, they did issue a press release early this afternoon announcing that Pinkel would take part in a press conference Tuesday “to wrap-up 2012 season and look ahead to 2013 season.”
That was the first clue that the speculation was bogus. The second? Pinkel’s boss scoffing in the general direction of the conversation that had been bouncing off the vast expanses of Internet messageboards.
“Of course. Absolutely,” athletic director Mike Alden told the Columbia Daily Tribune when asked if Pinkel would return as the Tigers’ coach in 2013, before adding that he won’t force his football coach to make changes to his coaching staff, either.
“My thing is you want to empower your head coaches to do what they do, to run their programs the way that’s consistent with our core values. Gary does a great job with that.”
The Tigers were just 5-7 overall and 2-6 in conference play, a record that looked all the worse when viewed in the prism of Texas A&M, also a Big 12 refugee, and the outstanding season the Aggies enjoyed in their first season in the SEC.
The disappointment aside, it doesn’t appear that Pinkel, who will be entering his 13th season at the school next year, will be going anywhere anytime soon. If the Tigers struggle again in 2013? That might be another matter entirely.