Mizzou extends Pinkel's contract

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Gary Pinkel, entering just his second season as Missouri's coach, has been given a two-year contract extension that would keep him on the Tigers' sidelines through 2007, the school announced Monday.

Pinkel's original contract, signed in December 2000 after Missouri lured him away from Toledo, was a five-year deal worth about $900,000 a season, including a $192,000 base salary. The extension will be of identical value, the school said.

In his first season at Missouri, Pinkel last year led the Tigers to a 4-7 finish, a modest improvement from the 3-8 record the previous year under Pinkel predecessor Larry Smith. Still, Pinkel's Tigers weren't far from contending for minor bowl status at one point last season before their late-season stumble, getting outscored 79-10 at Kansas State and Michigan State.

Missouri, which has had only two winning seasons since 1983, this season is picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Big 12 North Division, ahead of only Kansas.

Regardless, Missouri's athletic department said in a statement Monday that Pinkel already has made inroads in regional and national recruiting, "as evidenced by a 2002 recruiting class that ranked among the nation's Top 30" by some analysts.

"Gary has shown from Day One that he has a detailed plan to turn our football program around," said Mike Alden, Missouri's athletics director. "He's a man of vision and of integrity, and those of us who are fortunate enough to work around him know that he will get the job done."

The contract extension, Alden said, "is a way to show that he has everyone's full support to do just that."

The Tigers open their season Saturday against Illinois in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

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