Gary Pinkel

Akron, OH
Head Coach
16th Season at Mizzou
Gary Pinkel


RECORD: 186-103-3 overall in 24 seasons;
113-66 at Mizzou in 14 seasons
2001-Present Head Coach, Missouri
1991-2000 Head Coach, Toledo
1984-90 Offensive Coordinator, Washington
1979-83 Receivers, Washington
1977-78 Receivers, Bowling Green
1976 Tight Ends, Washington
1975 Graduate Assistant, Kent State
1974 Student Assistant, Kent State
  • Tight End at Kent State (1971-73)
  • A.P. Honorable Mention All-American (1973)



  • 2014 SEC Coach of the Year
  • 2007 Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year
  • 2007 FieldTurf National Coach of the Year
  • 2007 Finalist for Robinson, Bryant and Munger Awards

In 14 years at the University of Missouri, Gary Pinkel has meticulously built a previously downtrodden program into one of the most successful in the nation, and after a thrilling 2013 season, he very well might have performed the best coaching job of his career in 2014.

Picked to finish a distant fourth in the SEC Eastern Division in the preseason, Pinkel guided his troops to an 11-3 record and a second-straight division championship and subsequent bowl game victory.

The Tigers ended the magical 2014 season with a New Year’s Day 33-17 win over Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, giving the Tigers 23 wins in two seasons – a school record.

The job Pinkel did during the year went recognized by his coaching peers, as he was voted the SEC Coach of the Year by league coaches.

The well-deserved honor capped a season that saw the Tigers rebound from a pair of tough losses early in the year and close the regular season with six straight wins – including four games in which they entered as underdogs – to claim the East crown.

Under his watch, Mizzou has now won conference division titles five of the last eight seasons (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014), which is tied for most in the nation during that stretch (along with Alabama and Florida State), while the Tigers’ 76 wins in that time is tied for 5th-best among FBS “power 5” conferences.

The winningest head coach in both Mizzou and Toledo histories (making him one of only two active coaches to make that claim at the FBS level – Steve Spurrier being the other), Pinkel enters the 2015 season with a Mizzou record of 113-66 in 14 seasons, while he’s 186-103-3 overall in 24 seasons. His 186 wins is the 6th-most among active FBS coaches.

Pinkel got his MU record-breaking win thanks to a thrilling 41-31 win over Oklahoma State in the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The win was the 102nd at MU in his 13 years patrolling the sidelines, and that broke a tie he held going into the game with Tiger legend Don Faurot, who won 101 games in 19 seasons from 1935-42 and 1946-56.

That victory also put the cap on a storybook season which saw Mizzou storm to a 12-2 record and a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division championship.

Tiger supporters are proud to tout this amazing fact: Since 2007, Mizzou is the only program in the nation to rank in the top-5 among BCS-AQ leagues in wins, while also ranking in the top-10 in success, as well as in the top-5 in most NFL first-round draft picks.

The 2013 season will go down in the record books as one of the best seasons in Mizzou Football history, thanks to an oustanding job turned in by Pinkel and his staff. Mizzou began the season with little outside fanfare, and in fact was picked to finish 6th in the SEC East. All they did was burst to a 7-0 start, rise to as high as fifth in the rankings, win the East Division outright with a 7-1 SEC record, and reach the SEC Championship Game in only the program’s second year in the nation’s premier football league.

Even with the Championship Game defeat to Auburn, the Tigers turned heads nationally with their 12-2 record and final ranking of 5th in the season-ending polls (the 2nd-highest in school history). For his efforts, Pinkel received numerous national accolades, including being named a finalist for both the Eddie Robinson and Walter Camp Football Foundation national coach of the year honors. He was also named the AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year.

Pinkel’s leadership played a crucial role in the University of Missouri being in position to join the vaunted Southeastern Conference in November of 2011.

His vision for the future was stamped for approval in June of 2012, when the Missouri Board of Curators okayed a $200-million construction project master plan – the majority of which will go to improving and expanding football facilities.

Mizzou’s first year in the SEC certainly didn’t go as planned in 2012, as the Tigers faced what was ranked as the nation’s toughest schedule (Sagarin). Injuries which decimated the usually-potent Tiger offense took their toll and factored heavily into MU’s 5-7 season.

Mizzou played in a school-record seventh-straight bowl game in 2011, and ended with an 8-5 record after a dominating 41-24 win over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl. The final record was impressive considering it came in a year in which the Tigers were challenged with key injuries while facing a schedule that was ranked as the seventh-toughest in the nation (Sagarin). Pinkel led his team to wins over three bowl teams in the regular season (Texas, Texas A&M, Iowa State), while all five of MU’s losses came at the hands of bowl-bound opponents.

A testament to the consistency that Pinkel and his staff have developed at Mizzou is the fact that MU was one of only six schools in BCS-AQ conferences to have posted at least eight wins each season from 2006-11. The others in that very select group included: LSU, Oklahoma, USC, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

In 2010, Mizzou posted its third 10-win season in four years under Pinkel, as MU went 10-3 overall, including a 6-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play that earned them a spot atop the North Division rankings for the third time since 2007. Included among those 10 wins was a watershed moment for the program, and for Tiger Nation overall – a 36-27 win over top-ranked Oklahoma on Homecoming, which marked the first-ever win by Mizzou over a #1-ranked team.

A sign of growing respect for the work that Pinkel and his staff has done to build the program came along with that win over Oklahoma. That week, Mizzou was the focal point of the entire college football universe, as ESPN sent its wildly popular traveling show, “ESPN GameDay,” to the MU campus. A record crowd of an estimated 18,000 Tiger fans packed the picturesque Francis Quadrangle for the Saturday morning show, and made everyone associated with the school glow with pride. A national audience watched the GameDay program, and then the nation promptly watched the Tigers pull away in the fourth quarter against the Sooners to move to 7-0 on a season for only the third time in school history.

Pinkel is in a select group of MU coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Poweres, as the only coaches to have an MU record above .500 dating back to 1935.

Pinkel has guided Mizzou to 10 bowl games, surpassing the previous MU record of six previously held by Dan Devine. With wins in the 2008 AT&T Cotton Bowl (38-7 over Arkansas) and in the 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl (30-23 over Northwestern), Pinkel became the first coach to lead the Tigers to bowl victories in consecutive seasons since Powers did the trick in 1981 and 1982.

Over the past 12 seasons, Pinkel has led Missouri to a 103-52 record (66.5%) and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl, Pinkel has won 84 of his last 120 games overall (70.0%). He is the first coach in school history to earn seven straight bowl berths.

His success has led to an increased commitment to the Tiger Football program from the University, as Pinkel was awarded with a contract extension in March of 2014 that will keep him on the Tiger sidelines through the 2020 season. With 10 winning seasons, Pinkel has directed MU to 10 of the 12 winning campaigns the school has had overall since the 1983 season.

With a school-record 12 wins in 2007 and 10 more in 2008, MU’s two-year win total of 22 was third-most in the nation during that stretch, trailing only USC (23) and Oklahoma (23). The back-to-back 10-win seasons marked the first such occurrence in Mizzou history, and Pinkel has now directed five of the six double-digit win seasons in school annals.

In 2007, Pinkel guided Mizzou to arguably the greatest season in school history. Among the myriad achievements that year included a school-record 12 wins, claiming MU’s first New Year’s Day bowl victory since 1966, winning the program’s first-ever Big 12 North Division crown, and earning a No. 1 Associated Press national ranking for the first time since 1960 and coming up one win shy of playing for the national championship.

To simply list the highlights surrounding Pinkel’s renaissance in Columbia would not do his body of work justice. It has all been the culmination of hard work and determination that began after his hiring on Nov. 30, 2000.

In achieving the program’s first No. 1 national ranking since 1960, Missouri raced to a 5-0 start in 2007, including wins over a Rose Bowl bound Illinois team and perennial nemesis Nebraska. The Tigers averaged nearly 42 points per game in those five wins and only a late flurry of points by the Fighting Illini kept any of those games in doubt.

For his outstanding achievements both on and off the field in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He also was named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007.

In winning a school-record 12 games in 2007, Mizzou clearly caught the attention of the national football community, as the Tigers began the season unranked but quickly darted up the charts with wins over bowl teams such as Illinois, Texas Tech and Colorado. And after the Tigers defeated arch rival and 2nd-ranked Kansas on Nov. 24th, Mizzou stood atop the college football world, ranked number one for the first and only time since 1960.

After taking over a program that had fallen on hard times in 2001, Pinkel had increased success in each of his first three seasons, improving from four wins in 2001 to five wins in 2002, to the 2003 squad which went 8-5 and made the school’s third bowl appearance since 1983.

Long considered a “sleeping giant” of a program, Mizzou had a breakthrough 2003 season under Pinkel’s guidance.

The eight regular-season wins marked the first time since 1980 – and only the 4th time since 1960 – that MU had amassed that many wins in the regular season. The team became only the 9th in MU’s history to accomplish the feat.

Mizzou’s 41-24 win over #10 Nebraska on Oct. 11th was one for the history books, as it broke a 24-game losing streak to the Huskers for MU, making Pinkel the first Tiger coach to beat Nebraska since Warren Powers in 1978.

The Nebraska win also marked MU’s first win over a top-10 opponent since 1981, breaking a string of 45 straight losses to top-10 foes for the school.

The 31st head coach in the program’s history, Pinkel was hired on Nov. 30, 2000, and began immediately to prove to his colleagues, alumni, fans and student-athletes that Tiger Football could be a national player.

After a rebuilding year in 2001, Pinkel had Mizzou much improved in his 2nd campaign – and playing for bowl eligibility entering the Tigers’ final game of the season.

Pinkel opened the 2002 campaign by leading MU to one of the program’s most impressive season-opening wins in recent history when Mizzou dismantled Illinois – the defending Big Ten champions and a 2001 BCS Bowl team – 33-20 in St. Louis, Mo. He later defeated Mizzou’s rival, the Kansas Jayhawks, as MU downed Kansas 36-12 to give him a 2-0 record vs. KU – making him only the third coach in school history to win his first two encounters against Kansas.

Pinkel came to Missouri after spending 10 very successful years as head coach at Toledo, where he amassed an impressive 73-37-3 record (65.9%) and left as UT’s alltime winningest coach.

For his accomplishments at Toledo, Pinkel was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in February of 2009.

Prior to becoming a head coach, Pinkel learned the trade from one of the alltime great coaches, the legendary Don James. For 12 years as an assistant under James at Washington (1979-90), Pinkel helped guide the Huskies to a combined record of 104-37-2 (73.4%) and three Pac-10 Conference titles. He served as UW’s offensive coordinator for seven seasons (1984-90), and helped mold one of the nation’s most potent offensive attacks.

Pinkel played under James at Kent State University, where he was an all-conference and honorable mention All-American tight end. He graduated in 1973.

Pinkel received his bachelor of science degree in education from Kent in 1973. He did post-graduate studies at Kent and Bowling Green, and in 1997 was inducted into the Kent Athletic Hall of Fame.