University of Missouri makes ex-coach Gary Pinkel a fundraiser and ambassador; will get nearly $1 million over 3 years



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COLUMBIA, Missouri — Former University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel will remain at the university as a fundraiser and ambassador, earning nearly $1 million over the length of a three-year contract, the university announced Thursday.

Pinkel, 63, announced his retirement in November, citing his diagnosis of a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that was discovered in the spring. The university's all-time leader in wins, Pinkel finished at Missouri with a 118-73 record and 10 bowl appearances in 15 seasons.

The university said his new role will include assisting with fundraising and "donor/fan engagement," along with serving as an ambassador at public appearances. He'll also be an adviser as needed on football matters and other issues.

"I've said all along that when my coaching days were done, I would still need to be involved in a meaningful way, and this does that for me," Pinkel said in a statement. "I'm excited to be in this role where I can still provide an impact for a place that means so much to me and my family."

The contract, which the university's Board of Curators approved prior to the start of the year, calls for Pinkel to earn $350,000 in both 2016 and 2017, and $250,000 in 2018. At the time of his retirement, Pinkel had six years remaining on a coaching contract that paid him $4.02 million annually.

Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said the university was eager to find a way to keep Pinkel involved.

"Schools around the country are finding ways to keep institutional treasures like Gary Pinkel, Frank Beamer and Steve Spurrier in the fold even after they are done carrying a whistle," Rhoades said in a statement, referencing the recently retired coaches at Virginia Tech and South Carolina.

Pinkel's retirement came during a week that included his team threatening a strike over racial tensions on campus and resignations of both the university system president and the chancellor of the Columbia campus.

He said at the time he was diagnosed in May, calling his form of lymphoma a "manageable disease, but it's one that will never go away."

Pinkel inherited a program that had struggled for years and turned it around, including SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014. But the 2015 Tigers finished 5-7 and failed to earn a bowl bid. The Tigers had five 10-win seasons under Pinkel. Missouri's last 10-win season before his arrival was in 1960.

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