Pinkel reaches 'verbal agreement' on new deal -

Pinkel reaches 'verbal agreement' on new deal

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri coach Gary Pinkel agreed to a new contract Monday, two weeks before his 12th-ranked Tigers were set to play in their second straight Big 12 title game.

Pinkel said he hopes to sign the contract "in the next couple of days." The school's Board of Curators, which must approve the deal, is scheduled to meet tomorrow.

The school announced last week that it was planning a second raise in two years for Pinkel, who has led the Tigers to a 21-4 record the last two seasons, including 9-2 this season.

This year, Missouri is 9-2, winning the Big 12 North for the second straight season. The Tigers will play in the conference championship game on Dec. 6 in Kansas City.

Pinkel is 58-39 overall in his eighth season at the school, which is poised for its fourth consecutive bowl appearance.

"Mizzou people say 'Thanks for building the program," Pinkel said. "Well, you're never built, you never are.

"It's a never-ending process," he said. "To this point we're proud of what we've accomplished, but there's a lot left out there."

Pinkel's contract was renegotiated last December, guaranteeing $1.85 million per year through 2012.

The top job at Washington, where Pinkel was a longtime assistant, will be open once Tyrone Willingham finishes the season in two weeks for the Huskies (0-11).

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel said he offered congratulations on Sunday while telling Pinkel, "You've made a whole bunch of MU people happy."

"I know it wasn't an easy decision for him because of the Don James connection and the Washington connection," Daniel said. "I'm excited for him to stay here, because I know the program's going to be in great hands the rest of his career."

Pinkel is third on the school's career coaching win list, trailing only Don Faurot (101-79-10 in 19 seasons) and Dan Devine (93-37-7 in 13 seasons).

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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