Brendan Lavell, 23 Sports

Thursday, December 3—

The wait is over. The University of Missouri has named defensive coordinator Barry Odom as the 32nd head coach in program history. Odom, 39, agreed in principle to a five-year contract. He succeeds Gary Pinkel, who retired following the 2015 season due to cancer.

“We are extremely excited to announce Barry Odom as the new leader of the Mizzou football program,” said athletic director Mack Rhoades in a press briefing Thursday evening. “He is a man of high integrity and possesses all the qualities you look for in a successful head coach. He has an undeniable passion for Mizzou, a strong track-record of success at each level of his career and a clear vision to mentor our student-athletes and lead our program to even greater heights.”

Upon learning of the hire, Mizzou football players mobbed their new head coach, chanting, “Barry! Barry!”

Amidst speculation that Missouri would hire California head coach Sonny Dykes, many believed that Odom would leave the program to become head coach at Memphis, where Justin Fuente created a vacancy for a gig as head coach with Virginia Tech. However, negotiations between Odom and Memphis broke down, allowing Mizzou to promote Odom.

This season, Odom presided over a defense that ranked ninth nationally in total defense (302.0 yards per game) and seventh nationally in scoring defense (16.2 points per game).

Serving as the defensive coordinator at Memphis from 2012-14, Odom transformed a defense ranked 117th in 2011 into a top 25 unit. From 2009-11, Odom served as safeties coach at Mizzou under Pinkel. He also held an administrative position with the team from 2003-08.

Odom, a Mizzou alum, played linebacker for the Tigers from 1996-99, serving as a captain in his senior season. He recorded 362 tackles over his four seasons, seventh-most in school history.

The university will hold a public press conference Friday, Dec. 4, at noon to kick off the Barry Odom era. The press conference will be held at Mizzou Arena and will be televised live on SEC Network.

Photo courtesy of www.kansascity.com.