Missouri hires defensive coordinator Odom to replace Pinkel

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Missouri Names Barry Odom Head Coach


COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri promoted defensive coordinator Barry Odom on Thursday to replace the retiring Gary Pinkel as head coach.

The school said in a release that Odom agreed in principle to a five-year deal that will need to be approved by the school's board of curators next week.

"Coach Odom was the clear choice to serve as our next coach," athletic director Mack Rhoades said. "He is a man of high integrity and possesses all the qualities you look for in a successful head coach."

Pinkel announced last month he had cancer and was retiring after the season and also had a public farewell news conference. The Tigers finished 5-7 but the defense ranked ninth in the nation, the first top-10 finish for the school since the NCAA began tracking defensive statistics in 1978.

"I'm tremendously honored to have this opportunity," Odom said. "Mizzou means the world to me and to my family, and we couldn't be more proud and excited to be in this position."

Odom added, "I can't wait to get started."

Odom was an assistant under Pinkel from 2009-11, then did a three-year stint as defensive coordinator at Memphis before returning to Missouri this season as defensive coordinator after Dave Steckel left to become head coach at Missouri State.

Odom also had been considered for the vacant spot at Memphis that went to Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell. Several players endorsed Odom for the Missouri job.

The school said it conducted a "thorough national search" and that contract details would be released after the curators meet Dec. 10-11.

Odom played linebacker on two bowl teams for Larry Smith, Pinkel's predecessor, from 1996-99. He had 362 tackles, seventh-most in school history, and was a captain his senior year.

He also served in an administrative capacity at the school from 2003-08, including director of operations.

"He has an undeniable passion for Mizzou, a strong track record of success at each level of his career and a clear vision to mentor our student-athletes and lead our program to even greater heights," Rhoades said.

Missouri was ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense last season, allowing 16.2 points, and was also among the national leaders in tackles for loss. In 2014, Odom's Memphis defense was a key factor in a 10-3 season and a share of the American Athletic Conference title.

The 63-year-old Pinkel was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May and has been treated at the Mayo Clinic.

Others considered for the position included Cal's Sonny Dykes, Houston's Tom Herman and Toledo's Matt Campbell, who took the Iowa State job.

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