Missouri coach Gary Pinkel may be resigning, but he said Wednesday he will always be involved with the program.
Pinkel announced Friday that he would be stepping down as coach of the Tigers after the season to battle non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Three days later, Missouri lost its first commitment from the class of 2016. Tobias Little, a 3-star linebacker from Mays High School (Atlanta), who had committed to Missouri in July and said last week that recent protests on the school’s campus didn’t sway his decision.
But when the coach that recruited players leaves, those commitments often disappear as well.
During the SEC teleconference Wednesday, Pinkel said he is doing everything he can to keep the Tigers’ 2016 class intact.
“I called all of the recruits last night,” he said. “Three I left messages with and I’ll get back to them tonight.”
Pinkel understands the uncertainty some players might be having as Missouri searches for a coach to replace him, but he said he urged players to wait and make an informed decision.
“It’s a difficult time for them, too,” Pinkel said. “I always tell people make sure that they keep their options open, but certainly whoever gets the job, since you love Mizzou, you should at least listen to them, talk to them and see how you feel.”
“I talk to these kids on the phone a lot,” he said. “I have relationships with them. You’re a Missouri Tiger for life. It’s not a four- or five-year deal. I told them to call me any time in the next few weeks if you need me for anything.”