The University of Missouri announced Friday that Gary Pinkel will resign from his position as head football coach at the end of the 2015 season for health-related reasons. Pinkel informed his coaching staff and team of his decision Friday evening.
The head coach was diagnosed with lymphoma in May 2015 and has since undergone multiple treatments. While he felt good enough to finish out the 2015 season, Pinkel said he finally decided in late October that he would retire as head coach. He said he hopes to "turn [his] focus to life outside of the daily grind of football."
"I want to focus on enjoying my remaining years with my family and friends, and also have proper time to battle the disease and give full attention to that," Pinkel said in a press release. "I want to make very clear that I'm not doing poorly, and that this is a manageable disease, but it's one that will never go away."
Pinkel took Missouri to 10 bowl games and compiled a 117-71 record over his decade and a half in charge of the Tigers, making him the winningest coach in the school's history. Over his entire head coaching career, he put together a record of 190-108.
"Words can't express how grateful I am to the University of Missouri and all of the amazing people who make it up, from the administration to the students and our fans," Pinkel said in the release. "I'm so appreciative to all of my coaches and athletes. Leaving them makes this decision so tough, but I do so feeling good that the Mizzou Football program is in a better place than it was when we came in 15 years ago."
Earlier this week, Pinkel, 63, threw his support behind his players' decision to stand up against what they saw as the university's mishandling of a series of racially related incidents, which led to President Tim Wolfe's resignation on Monday. Pinkel later backed away from supporting the larger student-activist movement, saying he simply wanted to support his players.
Former Missouri players including Michael Same thanked Pinkel over Twitter on Friday for all he has done for them and the school.
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