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Gary Pinkel to step down as Mizzou’s HC over health concerns

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In a week of tumult that included the school’s president and chancellor stepping down, Missouri’s football team has now seen its leader step down as well.

In a stunning turn of events, Mizzou confirmed in a press release Friday evening that Gary Pinkel has decided to step down from his post as the Tigers head football coach.  According to the school, and unbeknownst to the public, Pinkel was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood in May of 2015.

Pinkel received multiple treatments in May and June, with doctors indicating that the treatments wouldn’t interfere with his coaching duties.  At that point, Pinkel decided to coach the Tigers in 2015; however, Pinkel reassessed his situation during Mizzou’s bye week and opted to step down following the 2015 season.

“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,” said Pinkel, who informed his staff and players this evening, in a statement. “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.”

The 63-year-old Pinkel will remain on as the Tigers’ head coach through December of 2015 or until a new head coach is in place. The two sides will look for a role that will keep him connected to Mizzou athletics.

“It’s been an honor working with Gary since I joined the Mizzou family,” said athletic director Mack Rhoades. “Gary is truly a coaching legend as the winningest coach at two Division I institutions while leaving a profound impact on a countless number of young men. We are extremely appreciative of all that he has done for Mizzou. It’s tough emotionally knowing that his fight with cancer is bringing his run to an end sooner than any of us thought. I want to commend Gary with how open he’s been with me the whole time, from the first day he came to my office in May and told me about his diagnosis, all the way to now and when he met with me personally on October 28th to tell me he’d made up his mind. He’s been nothing but first class in how he’s handled the situation the whole way.”

Pinkel is in his 15th season as Mizzou’s head coach, posting a 117-71 mark at the school.  The Tigers are 4-5 this season.

Where Pinkel really made his mark, though, was in Mizzou’s move to the SEC.  After a rough 5-7 mark in the Tigers’ inaugural SEC campaign, Pinkel led Mizzou to back-to-back East division titles.

All told, Pinkel’s squads won five division titles across the SEC and Big 12.   In the 17 years prior to Pinkel’s arrival, Mizzou posting just two winning seasons; in the his first 14 seasons, the Tigers were above .500 10 times.

Including his time at Toledo, Pinkel has a career record of 190-108-3.  He’s also one of a handful of coaches who are the all-time winningest head coaches at two FBS programs.

“I want to make very clear that I’m not doing poorly, and that this is a manageable disease, but it’s one that will never go away,” Pinkel said in continuing his statement. “So many people have bigger struggles with other forms of cancer and other serious diseases, and I feel blessed that I’ve got something I can fight and still enjoy a good quality of life. I don’t know how many years I have left, but I want to turn my focus to life outside of the daily grind of football,” he said.

“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.”

When it comes to a replacement for Pinkel, one name to keep in mind is Tom Herman. Herman is in his first year as Houston’s head coach, and was hired by… you guessed it, current Mizzou AD Mack Rhoads.

Herman will be in high demand, though, as, with Pinkel’s resignation, there are 10 FBS head-coaching openings.  Including Mizzou, seven of those are Power Five jobs: Illinois, Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, USC, Virginia Tech.  The other three openings are Hawaii, North Texas and UCF of Group of Five conferences.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including the price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini revealed

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Via email, Clemson fans pitch athletics department officials on conspiracy to inject Tigers players with banned substance
THE SYNOPSIS: College football fans, y’all!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lane Kiffin invites Kim Kardashian, Kanye West to FAU game
THE SYNOPSIS: Because, Lane Kiffin of course.  Kiffin left FAU two years later for the Ole Miss job.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini, staff? Nearly $8.5 million
THE SYNOPSIS: Nebraska, in seven seasons under Pelini: 67-27 record.  At least nine wins in all seven seasons.  Nebraska, in five seasons since Pelini was fired: 28-34 record.  At least nine wins in one of five seasons.  Also, the first time since the early sixties the Cornhuskers finished below .500 in three consecutive seasons.  Nice move, NU.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Ruffin McNeill lands extension, raise from ECU
THE SYNOPSIS: From 2012-14, East Carolina won 26 games under McNeill.  That matched the best three-year stretch in program history.  Then, coming off a five-win 2015 campaign, ECU inexplicably fired the head coach.  In the four years since, the Pirates have won 13 games.  Combined.  Maybe the AAC school consulted Nebraska prior to firing McNeill?

2011

THE HEADLINE: Raise your glass: WVU allows beer sales at football games
THE SYNOPSIS: Couches all across the God’s Country peed themselves a little.

Georgia Tech DE Kelton Dawson makes his way into the transfer portal

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For at least the fifth time this year, Georgia Tech has seen a player enter the football transfer portal.

According to Rivals.com, Kelton Dawson has taken the first step in leaving the Georgia Tech football team by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A Georgia Tech football official subsequently confirmed the portal move.

The defensive end has thus far declined to address his impending departure on Twitter.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Dawson was a three-star member of the Georgia Tech football Class of 2017.  At this point, it’s unclear if he will be leaving the Yellow Jackets as a graduate transfer.  Should he follow through, of course.

The lineman took a redshirt as a true freshman.  Dawson then appeared in one game in 2018, recording his first career tackle.  A season ago, he started seven of 11 games.  In that action, he was credited with 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

As for the other four Tech football player who entered the portal in 2020?

Johnson, incidentally, transferred to San Diego State last month.

Clemson assistant football coach accused of using the N-word years ago issues statement

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Clemson football was the subject throughout Tuesday of an incident a couple of years in the making.  And, not surprisingly, they have addressed it.  But first, the back story.

On Twitter this morning, former Clemson walk-on football player Kanyton Tuttle laid a damning claim on Dabo Swinney.  Specifically, that the Clemson head football coach had allowed one of his assistants “to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions.”

In a subsequent interview with The State, former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee acknowledged that the assistant, who he identified as current special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Danny Pearman (pictured), had indeed used the N-word.  However, Greenlee, who played for the Tigers from 2013-17, explained that Pearman did not call any player the N-word.  Instead…

“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically,” Greenlee told the newspaper. “Me and the coach got into it and I was speaking with one of my teammates. He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back.

“He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word. It was, using the tone, in a word like, ‘OK … I was talking to my teammate and you came over here.'”

In the end, Clemson football did the expected.  And released a statement attributed to Pearman.

Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.

While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.

I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.

I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff.

Stanford transfer Dylan Powell granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA at Indiana

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It was a banner day on the eligibility front for one Indiana football player.

Dylan Powell announced on Twitter Monday that he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA.  The Indiana football player already had a fifth season that he could use in 2020.  The additional year will allow the offensive lineman to take the field in 2021 as well.

“I just got word that the NCAA approved my request for another year of eligibility,” Powell wrote. “All the glory to God! I can’t wait to spend these next two seasons playing with my brothers and striving to take Indiana football to another level! LEO”

Powell actually began his collegiate career at Stanford.  A three-star 2016 signee, the Missouri native was the No. 14 player regardless of position in the Show Me State.

As a true freshman, Powell took a redshirt.  In 2017 and 2018, he combined to appear in 19 games.  In 2018, he started three games at guard and center.  That same season, he earned second-team All-Academic Pac-12 honors.

Scheduled to a be a starting guard for the Cardinal, Powell instead missed the entire 2019 campaign because of a torn labrum.  That, plus the redshirt season, earned him another season of eligibility.

Earlier this offseason, Powell enrolled in classes at Indiana and participated in spring football practice.

Powell is actually the second former Stanford player added to the Indiana football roster.  In mid-April, the Hoosiers confirmed the addition of cardinal defensive lineman Jovan Swann.  Both transfers will project as starters for the Big Ten school.