University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel is resigning at the end of the year.
Pinkel says he has cancer. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May. He says he planned on coaching a few more years, but started having a change of heart in August.
“You just start thinking about your time…you just don’t know time-wise. I mean, I might live another 25 years, I don’t know what can happen here,” Pinkel said during a public press conference at Mizzou Arena on Monday. “You re-evaluate your priorities.”
“Someone down the road said ‘Would you rather die on a football field, or would you rather die on a beach?’ And I’d rather die on a beach.”
The announcement Friday capped a stunning week for Mizzou football. Several players started a boycott Saturday night of team activities tied to campus protests. The team resumed practice Tuesday.
An emotional Pinkel says it will be toughest to replace the time with his players.
“I’m gonna miss their interaction, being around them, scolding them when I had to scold them, and hugging them and touching them everyday. That’s what I’m going to probably miss the most.”
Pinkel is the all-time winningest coach in Mizzou football history. He has been the head coach of the Tigers for 15 years. He says he’s not sure what he’ll do next, but wants to “be significant in something,” possibly with the university.
Gary Pinkel’s speech on Monday:
(This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Monday.)