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Matthew Hall, 23 Sports

Friday, November 13 —

To top off a climactic week in Columbia, Missouri, longtime head football coach Gary Pinkel announced his retirement at the end of the season to spend more time with his family after being diagnosed with Lymphoma in May of this year. His condition has not worsened, but he wishes to focus his time and energy fighting the cancer.

Pinkel joined the program in November of 2000 after an impressive coaching tenure at Toledo. The 63-year-old stands as the winningest coach in both Toledo and Mizzou history.

Pinkel led Mizzou to a winning record in 10 of his 15 seasons as the Tigers’ head coach. The team had only posted two winning seasons in the 17 seasons before Pinkel’s arrival.

Coach Pinkel was more than just a football coach to his players preparing them for greatness off the field as well. In the past nine seasons, he has led the team to improving their NCAA Graduation Success Rate, graduating 97% of his senior class in the last five seasons.

Players took to Twitter to praise their coach. Former players including wide receiver T.J. Moe and tailback Henry Josey posted photos of themselves with Pinkel to show their support.

Recent first-round draft pick Shane Ray said in an interview on Thursday before the announcement, “He’s backed us in all situations, win [or] lose. I mean it doesn’t matter. Once you go to the University of Missouri, you’re Coach Pinkel’s guy and he’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that his players are taken care of and are treated with respect.”

With his retirement imminent, Pinkel currently has the winningest record in Missouri football history with 117 wins and 71 losses. He is the sixth most winningest coach among active FBS coaches.

According to Mizzou Athletics beat writer Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Moe said, “He [Pinkel] resurrected Missouri football from the depths of the ocean to the peak of the mountain.”

Photo courtesy of mutigers.com.