University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel will step down from his position at the end of the season, he announced Friday. Pinkel said he wants to spend time with his family and focus on his health as he fights lymphoma, according to a news release from the MU athletic department.
Pinkel was diagnosed with the cancer in May and underwent treatment in May and June, according to the release. He decided to coach the team in 2015, but he reassessed his situation during the team’s bye week in late October and decided to resign at year’s end.
“I still feel good physically, but I decided that 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 the release.
Pinkel, in his 15th season as the Tigers’ head coach, is the winningest football coach in MU history, with a 117-71 record during his time in Columbia. He was the 2014 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and the 2007 Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year.
His announcement comes days after he supported a boycott of football-related activities by his players. The boycott, announced Saturday by African-American members of the team, came in response to racial tension on the Columbia campus and displeasure from student activists and their supporters with the way University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe had handled issues of race.
The team subsequently ended its boycott, and the Tigers will face Brigham Young University in a non-conference game on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.