Gary Pinkel 'absolutely' will be back at Missouri in 2013, AD says

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer
Despite rumors to the contrary, Gary Pinkel will be back for a 13th season in Columbia, Missouri's AD says. (US Presswire)

With the college football coaching carousel at maximum spin, there's no shortage of rumor and innuendo spreading across the Internet these days. One recent rumor Sunday was that Gary Pinkel would resign as Missouri's coach Monday.

Not so much, Tigers athletic director Mike Alden said Monday.

"Of course. Absolutely," Alden said when asked if Pinkel would return to coach the team in 2013, per the Columbia Daily Tribune. Alden also added a succinct "No" when asked if he's ever doubted that return.

To emphasize exactly how cemented in the position Pinkel is, Alden said would not demand -- or even suggest -- any staffing changes in the wake of Missouri's 5-7 season, its first without a bowl bid since 2004. He hinted Pinkel wasn't preparing to make any, either.

"My thing is you want to empower your head coaches to do what they do, to run their programs the way that's consistent with our core values," he said. "Gary does a great job with that."

Some Missouri fans might not be quite as supportive after an inaugural SEC season that saw the Tigers finish 2-6 in their new conference and drop a home game to Syracuse to finish out of the bowl picture. It won't help Pinkel that the SEC's other newcomer, Texas A&M -- a team that finished a game behind Missouri in the 2011 Big 12 standings -- pounded the Tigers 59-29 in their season finale to wrap up a 10-2 debut (6-2 in conference).

After a summer in which both Pinkel and his players repeatedly said they didn't need to alter their approach for the SEC, the season seemed to argue, forcefully, that some alteration is necessary.

Alden is right that after 12 seasons -- many of them among the biggest in Missouri history -- Pinkel has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to how he's run his program. But there's also a fine line between the benefits of stability and the drawbacks of stubbornness; it looks like Missouri will find out exactly on which side of that line it falls in 2013.

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