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(The boycott was later suspended when University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday morning.) And though that event and the coach’s resignation are unrelated, that Pinkel’s public support of his players’ historic action will be his final prominent act as coach is fitting.
After all, this is a man who has always stood by his players above all else, who sees himself as coach and father figure—and who acts the part.
Over the course of the past month, Missouri’s team has seen more drama and uncertainty than most programs face in a season.
Former starting quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended, reinstated and suspended again.
On Friday afternoon, Missouri announced that Pinkel will resign at the end of 2015.
The impact the Tigers coach has had over the past decade and a half is too great for him to be reduced to the past tense so quickly—not when he has three games left to coach, not when the mark he’s made on his program over the past 15 seasons will endure for years, if not decades.
The Tigers are currently riding their first four-game losing streak since 2004, and for 36 hours, there was a chance they’d have to forfeit this Saturday’s game should their boycott continue. Whether Pinkel’s illness and looming resignation will galvanize his team or further fracture a group of young men whose identity has already been shaken for nearly a week is impossible to say.
And for all the beauty of Pinkel’s support on Sunday, even the staunchest Kansas fan should admit: The man who made Missouri football deserves an ending better than this one.
Pinkel’s teams went on to win the SEC East in their second and third seasons in the conference.
“Our emphasis is on recruiting and recruiting players who we think have speed and athleticism potential. After the 2013 season, with a roster that looked primed for another run at the SEC championship and beyond, Pinkel cut ties with Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s former No.
1 recruit, after he was accused of assaulting a woman.
In recent years, Missouri’s calling card has been its defensive line, which has consistently produced NFL talent like Ziggy Hood, Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, Ray and Markus Golden, all first- or second-round draft picks.
But over the course of his career, Pinkel has also been known for grooming quarterbacks.