As Gary Pinkel spent 13 of the first 17 years of his coaching career at Washington, it was only natural he would be connected to the job when it came open earlier this week. Pinkel waxed eloquently upon the passing of Don James about what the legendary UW head coach and his time with the Huskies meant to him and his career, leading some to connect further Columbia-to-Seattle dots.
At least publicly, though, the Missouri head coach maintains he’s going to remain just that.
Appearing on ESPN‘s Mike & Mike radio show Thursday morning, Pinkel was asked about the speculation that he could leave the Tigers and head back “home” to the Huskies. Unequivocally, the coach said he’s staying put.
Pinkel is in his 13th season at Mizzou. After a rough first season in the SEC last year that had some placing him firmly on the hot seat entering 2013, Pinkel has the Tigers ranked fifth in the country and playing for a conference championship this weekend against Auburn.
In 2008, Pinkel reportedly turned down an opportunity to interview for the Huskies vacancy in 2008. The job ultimately went to Steve Sarkisian, who left earlier this week to take over as the head coach at USC.
Late Wednesday night, the Seattle Times reported that UW’s top two targets to replace Sarkisian are Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Petersen was long considered one of the Trojans’ top targets to permanently replace Lane Kiffin — perhaps even the top target — before reportedly withdrawing his name from consideration. Prior to spending 2012 and 2013 as the Tide’s coordinator, Nussmeier held the same job for three years under Sarkisian with the Huskies.