Today the University of Missouri announced that head football coach Gary Pinkel will retire at the end of the year.
In May he was diagnosed with lymphoma. The plan was to continue on with what he was doing as long as he felt healthy enough to do so. Unfortunately, this situation now seems like it needs more of his attention. He has decided to take time to battle the disease and spend time with his family.
Pinkel's decision is health-based, as he was diagnosed in May of 2015 with lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood. He received multiple treatments in May and June, and after doctors indicated that the treatments wouldn't interfere with his coaching duties, he decided that he would continue to coach the Tigers in 2015.
"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," Pinkel said. "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," he said.
"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. "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," Pinkel said.
Nebraska and Missouri, while now in different conferences, have a long history together. While the passion can boil over at times, in the end we are all in life together. Coach Pinkel helped make Missouri into a strong football program and a respectable institution. One that matched us on more than one occasion.
We at Corn Nation wish the best for Coach Pinkel and his family.