Matching Devine shows how Pinkel has moved Mizzou forward
By Brendan Marks
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel walks back to the bench following a timeout during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) By Darron Cummings
Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel consols senior Kendial Lawrence before a game against the Syracuse Orangemen on Senior Day at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on November 17, 2012. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
(Missouri Football App) – Saturday’s win at Indiana should remind us how good Gary Pinkel has been.
Mizzou’s 45-28 victory gave Pinkel his 93rd win as Missouri's head coach, tying him with the legendary Dan Devine for second place on the school’s all time wins list; only Don Faurot has racked up more victories.
"I have tremendous respect for Dan Devine. I had the chance after I got the job to talk to him on the phone for a little while. That meant a lot to me,” Pinkel said.‘I met him once years and years ago. Just to have your name thrown up there with theirs is a tremendous honor."
It is important to look at Pinkel’s accomplishments and compare them to those of his most recent predecessors.
When Dan Devine, Al Onofrio, and Warren Powers were patrolling the Missouri sideline, the Tigers were usually a force to be reckon with. In the early to mid 1980s, the program went into decline. Between 1985 and 2000, Mizzou went through three bad to mediocre head coaches. Bowl appearances and winning records were a rarity, being noncompetitive in the Big 8 and later the Big XII was a constant.
Pinkel’s arrival in 2001 did not translate into immediate success, but the team began to move in the right direction. In 2003, the program opened the season 3-0 for the first time in over 20 years and the Tigers went to a bowl game for the first time in five years. Pinkel has turned the Tigers into a consistent winner where a trip to a bowl game has become more common than blowout losses.
Pinkel's success also comes from an out of state recruiting footprint that Tiger fans had not seen before. Sean Weatherspoon, Chase Daniel, Brad Smith, and many other impact players came to Columbia from outside of Missouri; many, such as Daniel, Weatherspoon, James Franklin, etc have come from the talent rich state of Texas.
Obviously, Pinkel’s tenure hasn’t been all roses. Since he arrived, the Tigers have played a relatively soft non-conference schedule and have had trouble against the traditional powers.
If you at the larger picture, Pinkel's tenure has been a giant step forward for the football program.