(Missouri Football App) – The tea leaves on Gary Pinkel’s immediate future may not be that tough to read.
While speculation abounds that a disappointing 2013 will mean the end of Pinkel's tenure in Columbia, the end will not come so quickly.
History suggests athletic director Mike Alden is a patient man. It would be outside of Alden’s nature to make a change at the end of the season, even if the Tigers aren’t bowl bound.
Alden has only hired (Pinkel), and fired (Larry Smith) one sideline boss during his time in Columbia. He held onto Pinkel after his tenure began with back-to-back sub .500 seasons and after the 2004 season when a team with high expectations finished 5-6. In basketball, he retained embattled coach Quin Snyder for far too long, even though the team’s performance was declining on the court and scandal was casting a shadow over the program.
All of this occurred amid a changing environment in both professional and college sports in which the pressure to win right away increased. Late in the 2012 season, the New York Times estimated 1 in 10 major college football programs have “replaced the their head coaches annually for performance related reasons.”
Other athletic directors that have been seeing bad results on the field have had little patience. Turner Gill inherited a terrible team at Kansas and was dispatched after two horrendous seasons. John Embree was also given his walking papers after taking over a squad at Colorado that was getting pounded by below average teams.
This does not mean the seat will not be warm if the 2013 Tigers fare poorly. Pressure from alumni and others will begin to mount on Alden to make a change. A mediocre 2014 will mean that pressure will intensify even more and perhaps force his hand.
Until that day arrives, however, don’t be surprised to see Gary Pinkel patrolling the Missouri sideline.