Gary Pinkel

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Gary Pinkel
Pinkel in September 2008
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Missouri
Conference SEC
Record 102–63 (.618)
Biographical details
Born (1952-04-27) April 27, 1952 (age 62)
Akron, Ohio
Alma mater Kent State University
Playing career
1970–1973 Kent State
Position(s) Tight end
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Kent State (GA)
Washington (TE)
Bowling Green (WR)
Washington (WR)
Washington (OC/WR)
Head coaching record
Overall 175–100–3 (.635)
Bowls 6–4
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 MAC (1995)
3 MAC East Division (1997–1998, 2000)
3 Big 12 North Division (2007–2008, 2010)
1 SEC East Division (2013)
MAC Coach of the Year (1995)
Kent Athletic Hall of Fame (1997)

Gary Robin Pinkel (born April 27, 1952) is a college football coach, currently the head coach at the University of Missouri, and the winningest coach in the history of Missouri, a position he has held since the 2001 season. From 1991 to 2000, Pinkel coached at the University of Toledo, winning a Mid-American Conference championship in 1995. He is also the winningest coach in Toledo's history. Before becoming a head coach, he was an assistant at the University of Washington under Don James from 1979 through 1990, the last six years as offensive coordinator.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Akron, Ohio, Pinkel graduated from Kenmore High School and attended Kent State University, where he played tight end for the Golden Flashes under head coach Don James. Pinkel received his bachelor's degree in education in 1973 and began his coaching career as a graduate at Kent State under James, who left after the 1974 season for Washington. Pinkel joined him in Seattle for a season in 1976, spent two years at Bowling Green, then returned to Washington for twelve seasons.

Pinkel and Alabama head coach Nick Saban were college teammates. Pinkel took over the head coaching job at Toledo in 1991 when Saban left to become defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

His roommate at Kent was Pittsburgh Steelers great Jack Lambert. Pinkel did post-graduate studies at Kent and Bowling Green State University, and was inducted into the Kent Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

Head coaching career[edit]


Pinkel finished 73-37-3 (.659) in ten seasons at Toledo, including a 53-23-3 (.690) record in conference. He compiled 3 West Division titles and the conference championship in 1995.

In 1995, Pinkel's Rockets finished undefeated, 11-0-1, won the Vegas Bowl and finished ranked in the Top 25 (AP Poll). They were one of only three teams in the nation to finish the regular season undefeated. The others were Nebraska and Florida, who played for the national championship.

In 2000, Toledo went to Penn State and defeated Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions 24-6. Pinkel guided Toledo to a 10-1 record that season, 6-1 in conference play.


Since arriving at Missouri after the 2000 season,[2] Pinkel has guided the Tigers to eight bowl games in 11 years, winning four. The first was in 2003, a 27–14 loss to Arkansas, and the second was a thrilling 38–31 come-from-behind win over the University of South Carolina on December 30, 2005. Missouri then lost to Oregon State, 39–38, in the Brut Sun Bowl. In 2007, a historic year for the Mizzou program, Pinkel led his team to a #1 AP ranking at the end of the regular season after finishing 11–1. They fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, and played in the Cotton Bowl Classic against Arkansas. The Tigers throttled the Razorbacks, strolling to an easy 38–7 victory and a final season ranking of #4 in the AP Poll.

Pinkel's other accomplishments while at Mizzou include ending the Tigers 24-year losing streak to the Nebraska in 2003 with a 41–24 win in Columbia. Since this win, the two schools have had an intense rivalry, with Missouri falling short in the series only 3–4.

In 2006, Pinkel led the Tigers to a 6–0 start, the team's first 6–0 start since 1973. However, the team finished 8–5.

During the 2007 season, Pinkel guided the Tigers to a 12–2 season with an average of 40 points per game, a Big 12 North Championship, and a 38–7 Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Arkansas. The season's most memorable moment came when Missouri defeated rival Kansas 36–28 on a nationally televised game at Arrowhead Stadium. The win propelled Missouri to the #1 ranking and ruined Kansas' previously unbeaten record. The only losses during the season were against the Oklahoma Sooners. The first loss was on the road in Norman and the second was in the Big 12 Championship. Pinkel’s Tigers were tied with the Sooners at half time but ended up losing. If the Tigers had won they might have retained their then number one BCS ranking and could have played for the BCS National Championship.

In 2008, Pinkel guided his Tigers to a second consecutive Big 12 North title and a chance to have back to back double digit win seasons. Despite four tough losses, the 2008 campaign concluded with a Big 12 North Championship, the first back to back 10 win season in Missouri history and an Alamo Bowl Championship.

On November 25, 2008, Pinkel signed a new seven-year contract that would bring him $2.3 million per year, from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2015.[3]

On October 23, 2010, Pinkel guided the Tigers to their first win over the Oklahoma Sooners since 1998, winning 36–27. The Sooners were ranked #1 in the BCS Poll at the time, leading to the third straight week that a #1 team lost. The Tigers finished the regular season 10-2 (6-2 Big 12) and tied Nebraska for the Big 12 North Championship, Mizzou's 3rd in 4 years.

Pinkel entered the 2013 season as the third-winningest coach in Mizzou history, behind only Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine. He defeated Arkansas State on September 28 for his 94th win in Columbia, passing Devine for second place. He won his 100th game on November 23 over Ole Miss, and tied Faurot's 101 wins after defeating Texas A&M 28-21 on November 30, 2013. With a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State to cap the season, he is now Missouri's all-time winningest coach.

In 13 seasons under Pinkel, the Tigers have a winning percentage of .620, have notched nine winning seasons and appeared in nine bowl games. Over the last eight seasons Mizzou has a winning percentage of .692 and ranks 18th nationally with 72 victories.

Beginning with the 2002 NFL draft, Pinkel has had 21 players selected, including seven first-round choices since 2009.[4]


Pinkel lives in Columbia, Missouri. He was divorced from Vicki Pinkel in October 2012. The couple has three grown children.[5] An avid motorcyclist, he is often spotted on the Columbia streets riding his Harley Davidson. On November 16, 2011, Pinkel was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.[6] He later plead guilty to the charges and was disciplined by the school which included; a one game suspension, salary frozen for a year, no bowl bonus, and approximately $300,000 in fines.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Toledo Rockets (Mid-American Conference) (1991–2000)
1991 Toledo 5–5–1 4–3–1 T–3rd
1992 Toledo 8–3 5–3 T–3rd
1993 Toledo 4–7 3–5 T–7th
1994 Toledo 6–4–1 4–3–1 6th
1995 Toledo 11–0–1 7–0–1 1st W Las Vegas 24
1996 Toledo 7–4 6–2 T–2nd
1997 Toledo 9–3 7–1 1st (West)
1998 Toledo 7–5 6–2 1st (West)
1999 Toledo 6–5 5–3 T–2nd (West)
2000 Toledo 10–1 6–1 1st (West)
Toledo: 73–37–3 53–23–3
Missouri Tigers (Big 12 Conference) (2001–2011)
2001 Missouri 4–7 3–5 T–4th (North)
2002 Missouri 5–7 2–6 5th (North)
2003 Missouri 8–5 4–4 3rd (North) L Independence
2004 Missouri 5–6 3–5 T–3rd (North)
2005 Missouri 7–5 4–4 T–2nd (North) W Independence
2006 Missouri 8–5 4–4 T–2nd (North) L Sun
2007 Missouri 12–2 7–1 T–1st (North) W Cotton 5 4
2008 Missouri 10–4 5–3 T–1st (North) W Alamo 16 19
2009 Missouri 8–5 4–4 T–2nd (North) L Texas
2010 Missouri 10–3 6–2 T–1st (North) L Insight 18 18
2011 Missouri 8–5[8] 5–4 5th W Independence
Missouri Tigers (Southeastern Conference) (2012–present)
2012 Missouri 5–7 2–6 5th (East)
2013 Missouri 12–2 7–1 1st (East) W Cotton 5 5
2014 Missouri 0–0 0–0 (East)
Missouri: 102–63 56–49
Total: 175-100–3
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pinkel on Don James: 'My coach, my mentor, my friend'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Missouri Picks Pinkel". CBS Sports. The Associated Press. 2000-11-29. Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  3. ^ Mizzou, Gary Pinkel Agree to New Contract,, November 25, 2008
  4. ^ Bernie Miklasz (December 6, 2013). "Bernie: Pinkel deserves a statue". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  5. ^ "Missouri coach Pinkel to pay $23,000 a month in divorce". Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  6. ^ Gary Pinkel arrested on DWI suspicion
  7. ^ Smith, Erick (November 18, 2011). "Missouri coach Gary Pinkel pleads guilty to DWI". USA Today. 
  8. ^ The record accounts for Gary Pinkel's suspension from coaching the Nov. 19, 2011 game versus Texas Tech.

External links[edit]