COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will step down at the end of the season because of health reasons.
Pinkel and the Tigers announced the decision Friday afternoon and noted Pinkel had been diagnosed with lymphoma in May. The stunning move comes days after his team threatened to boycott Saturday's game against BYU over concerns about racial strife on campus.
Pinkel supported his players, but the boycott ended less than 48 hours after it started when the president of the Missouri university system resigned.
Pinkel said he had decided this would be his last season long before this week.
"I made a decision in May, after visiting with my family, that I wanted to keep coaching as long as I felt good and had the energy I needed," Pinkel said in a statement. "I felt great going into the season but also knew that I would need to re-assess things at some point, and I set our bye week as the time when I would take stick of the future."
A statement from the school said Pinkel informed his staff and the team on Friday. Pinkel and athletic director Mack Rhoades, who is in his first year leading the Missouri athletic department, are discussing a role that would keep Pinkel associated with Tigers athletics after he is done coaching.
The 63-year-old Pinkel is the winningest coach in school history with a 117-71 record over 15 seasons. His team has won the last two SEC East titles, but is out of contention for a conference title this year. The Tigers (4-5) play BYU on Saturday and have two more games after that to get to six wins and become bowl eligible.
Pinkel received multiple treatments in May and June for a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer of the blood, the statement said. Doctors said the treatments would not interfere with his coaching duties.
AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org
The Associated Press