With just a month or so until the start of summer camp, Gary Pinkel has an unexpected hole to fill on his Missouri coaching staff.
In a press release Tuesday, Mizzou announced that Bruce Walker is stepping down as one of Pinkel’s longest-tenured assistants and retiring from coaching. The 53-year-old Walker cited spending time with family as the reason for his abrupt decision.
“In this business everybody has a time when they need to hang it up, and it’s my time,” the assistant said in a statement. “I’m very proud to have been a part of 102 wins here and all that we’ve achieved, and I’m proud of the legacy I leave behind with all the players I’ve touched over a 26-year career. Mizzou has been a special place for me, I’ve loved my time here and I’ll always be Tiger. I’ve had a great run and now it’s time to go be with my family and do other things. Coaches don’t often get to go out on their own terms, so I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to do it my way.”
Walker had been an assistant under Pinkel since 1996 — 1996-2000 at Toledo and 2001-13 at Mizzou. Walker served as tight ends coach and assistant offensive line coach from 2001-2008, then moved to co-offensive line coach from 2009-2013.
“Bruce informed me [Monday] night that he feels the time is right for him to step away from coaching,” the head coach said. “Bruce has been a very important part of our success here at Mizzou, and I’m very grateful to him and his family for all of the sacrifices they have made to help our program succeed. We’re going to miss him, no question, and we wish him nothing but the best. Exactly what steps we take here to fill this spot, it’s too soon to know, but we’ll get to work on that right away.”
No timetable has been set for finding a replacement, although Pinkel could opt to stay in-house and promoting a grad assistant to fill the vacancy.
(Photo credit: Missouri athletics)