Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says he’s not going anywhere

Gary PinkelThe Missouri Tigers have a huge matchup with the Auburn Tigers in the SEC championship game this Saturday and on Thursday head coach Gary Pinkel made it clear his focus is solely on that game.

After Steve Sarkisian accepted the head job at USC, Pinkel was rumored to be a candidate to replace him at Washington. Pinkel was the tight ends coach at Washington during the 1976 season, then was the wide receivers coach from 1979 through 1983 before being promoted to offensive coordinator. He was the team’s OC from 1984 until 1990 when he left to become the head coach at Toledo.

The 61-year-old Pinkel obviously has deep ties to Washington, but on Thursday he made it clear that he’s happy at Missouri. He had the following to say about the situation:

I coach there (Washington) for 12 years, and (former Washington head coach) Don James is my mentor. I’ll be quite frank: I’m staying at the University of Missouri. I, with the administration’s help, will continue to build a national program in a quest for a national championship.

I’m a Missouri Tiger, and I’m going to stay a Missouri Tiger.

Pinkel arrived at Missouri in 2001 and has the team in the SEC championship game in just its second year in the conference. Missouri is currently ranked No. 5 with an 11-1 record and a 7-1 mark in the conference. The Tigers won the SEC East title this season and face No. 3 Auburn on Saturday with a BCS bowl berth on the line.

Pinkel has a 101-62 record at Missouri and is tied with Don Faurot for the most wins in school history.

Washington’s top targets for the job now are Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Nussmeier reportedly interviewed for the job on Thursday and Petersen is reportedly set to interview on Friday.

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