Pinkel close on extension with Mizzou -

Pinkel close on extension with Mizzou

Word out of Columbia is Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel signed an extension with the school that will increase his pay to $2.5 million a year, a raise from the extension he signed last year that pays Pinkel $1.85 million.

"Basically, he'll be able to end his career at Missouri," a source close to the situation told's and Mizzou alumni Pat Forde.

A smart move by the Tigers.

Now if you think it seems ludicrous for a public institution to sign an employee to a multi-million dollar extension less than 12 months after giving him a first multi-million dollar extension - well, you might be on to something.

Nonetheless, the Tigers had to make sure Pinkel didn't give in to the allure of going home to coach the Washington Huskies, who recently fired head coach Ty Willingham. Pinkel was a longtime assistant coach at Washington.

Athletic director Mike Alden needed to make a deal happen to keep the man who will ultimately be remembered as Missouri's most successful, and finest, coach. Pinkel is 58-39 at Columbia as he leads the Tigers into their second consecutive Big 12 Championship game - a feat that would have been regarded as fantasy during the Larry Smith years.

The Tigers are top-15 program and now have one of the 15 highest paid coaches in the country.

Pinkel joins Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Charlie Weis (Notre Dame), Pete Carrol (USC), Les Miles (LSU), Nick Saban (Alabama), Jim Tressel (Ohio State), Urban Meyer (Florida), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Mack Brown (Texas), Bobby Petrino (Arkansas), Tommy Tuberville (Auburn), Mark Richt (Georgia), Rich Rodriguez (Michigan) and Bobby Bowden (Florida State) as the only coaches earning at least $2.5 million annually.

Apparently since Pinkel was already an employee, Alden did not have to worry about the freshly imposed hiring-freeze by UM system President Gary Forsee.

At Mizzou, scientists work everyday, literally trying to cure cancer. These folks make a lot less many than Pinkel. Is his job more important than theirs?

Of course not.

But having a successful football team provides Columbia with a buzz every Saturday that is unmatched by anything else. They give the university a chance to showcase itself nationally.

Most of all, Pinkel's teams have given students and alumni another reason to be proud of their school.

And that makes the coach worth every penny.

Michael Bittner is a student at the University School of Journalism

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