University of Missouri football fans might be able to breathe a bit easier soon.
According to ESPN.comâ€™s Pat Forde on Friday, head coach Gary Pinkel has agreed to terms to a contract extension that will give him a nifty pay raise. However, a Mizzou spokesperson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday that no such agreement has been reached, though one is imminent.
Few details were revealed by Forde, but the extension is believed to put Pinkelâ€™s annual salary around $2.5 million per year. It bears noting that Forde is a 1987 University of Missouri alum, so itâ€™s safe to say Forde is well-connected when it comes to Mizzou and perhaps the Post-Dispatch is taking a cautious approach before reporting any such accord.
Regardless of which source you would like to believe, keeping Pinkel is paramount for the Tigers to continue the momentum they have built in recent years.
Mizzou is 21-4 under his watch the last two seasons and beat Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl last season. The Tigers have a shot for getting a BCS nod next month in the Big 12 Conference title game for the second straight year. The Tigers have already sewn up the Big 12 North Division crown.
Mizzou will undoubtedly want to keep Pinkel and his top assistants in the fold. With the Tigers faced with the reality of not having senior quarterback Chase Daniel, senior safety William Moore and senior tight end Chase Coffman next season, thereâ€™s also the chance of Mizzou losing standout sophomore do-it-all Jeremy Maclin to the NFL draft next spring. Since Maclin is a redshirt sophomore, he will be three years removed from high school and eligible for the draft. With Pinkel and his staff in tow, the Tigers wonâ€™t have to worry about having any recruiting pipelines severed with a new staff coming aboard.
The Tigers are 9-2 heading into the Nov. 29 showdown with rival Kansas at Arrowhead.
Meanwhile, Missouriâ€™s neighbor to the east â€” Illinois â€” will have to brace itself to see if offensive coordinator Mike Locksley stays in the fold. Locksley, according to ESPN.comâ€™s Heather Dinich, interviewed for the head coaching position at Clemson recently.
Locksley, in his fourth season at Illinois, is a highly-regarded recruiter who came to the Illini along with head coach Ron Zook. Locksley was on Zookâ€™s staff at Florida from 2003-04.
Locksley hails from Washington, D.C., played his college ball at Towson and spent six years as an assistant at Maryland. He is a big reason why the Illini have been able to recruit better in the Maryland/D.C. area. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn, backup quarterback Eddie McGee and cornerback Vontae Davis all came from D.C., where the Illini have pulled eight players from.