Eli Drinkwitz becomes next Missouri coach, leaving Appalachian State after one season
Drinkwitz is one of the fastest-rising stars in the college coaching profession
Looking to change its fortunes and recapture the offensive success it had just a few years ago, Missouri and Eli Drinkwitz have agreed to a deal that will have the Appalachian State coach take the same position with the Tigers, the school announced on Tuesday. Drinkwitz, whose lone year of head coaching experience saw him take the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record with two wins over Power Five teams and a Sun Belt championship, is one of the profession's fastest-rising stars.
"I'm excited for the opportunity of a lifetime to be the head football coach at Missouri," Drinkwitz said in a statement. 'This is a special place with special people. I know this is the Show-Me State, and I'm fired up to show this state what our football program is going to be all about. My wife, Lindsey, and our four girls are excited to join the Columbia community and be a part of Mizzou."
He has been attached to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn for most of his career, following Malzahn from Springdale High School (where Drinkwitz was offensive coordinator) to Auburn (quality control coach). He departed with Malzahn for Arkansas State, where he worked as an assistant and remained when Malzahn returned to Auburn and Bryan Harsin took over. Drinkwitz continued learning from Harsin as an offensive coordinator at Boise State and most recently worked three seasons in the same role at NC State before taking the Appalachian State job ahead of the 2019 season.
Drinkwitz has been at the helm for some of college football's best offenses throughout his brief career. The Mountaineers averaged 6.26 yards per play in 2019 and led the Sun Belt with 39.4 points per game. His 2015 Boise State offense finished second in the Mountain West at 441.5 yards per game, and NC State averaged more than 450 yards per game in 2017 and 2018 -- his final two seasons with the program.
After long-time Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel retired in 2015, the Tigers handed the reigns to Barry Odom. Though Odom improved Mizzou's record in each of his first three seasons, the team finished 6-6 (3-5) SEC in 2019, putting Odom's overall record at 25-25 (13-19 SEC) in four seasons.
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