Pinkel holds annual charity event, reacts to Odom firing
COLUMBIA- Former Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel reacted to news that his successor Barry Odom has been fired from the team.
Pinkel held his annual "One Step Forward" charity event Monday, where he and former team captain L'Damian Washington handed out free Nike shoes to foster children at the Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home.
After the event, Pinkel and Washington spoke with media about Mizzou's decision to fire coach Barry Odom.
Pinkel said he understood the position of the athletics director Jim Sterk and that it was a difficult decision.
"I thank God I'm not in that position to have to do that," Pinkel said. "Because I know that's tough."
Mizzou fired Odom after the team won six games and lost six in 2019. In his four years with Mizzou, Odom had a record of 25-25, with a 13-19 SEC record.
At a press conference announcing the decision, Sterk cited the disappointing 2019 season as the reason for Odom's firing.
"We lost a great deal of energy over the last half of the season, which causes great concern as we look to the future," Sterk said. "Mizzou is a great place and an outstanding job and we have necessary resources for this program to be successful at the highest level."
Pinkel commended Odom's efforts in leading the team.
"Coach Odom did a good job and he'll get back on his feet and be very very successful," he said.
Washington expressed disappointment at the decision.
"He's a great coach and an even better person," Washington said. "He's going to land on his feet somewhere and any team that gets him is going to be very lucky."
Pinkel said he received a text from Odom after the decision was announced. Pinkel said he was not part of the decision making process, and chuckled at rumors about his nephew and former assistant Alex Grinch being a possible replacement for Odom.
"His mother is my sister so I'll probably talk to her. But I don't know, I'm not getting involved with that," Pinkel said.
Pinkel refused to comment on how Mizzou should move forward with hiring its next coach.
Defensive line coach Brick Haley will serve as the team's interim coach until Sterk hires a replacement for Odom.