Former Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel selected to College Football’s Hall of Fame

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 3:19 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KY3) - The 2022 College Football Hall of Fame class includes former Missouri Tigers head football coach Gary Pinkel.

Standing at No. 20 for most wins in Football Bowl Subdivision history at the time of his retirement, Gary Pinkel’s legacy as the winningest coach in school history at both Toledo and Missouri makes him one of only three coaches to hold the distinction at two Division I programs. He becomes the first coach from Toledo and the sixth coach from Missouri inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Pinkel began his head coaching career at Toledo in 1991 and during the next 10 years, he would take the Rockets to new heights, winning 65.9 percent of his games and amassing a 73-37-3 record, the most wins in school history. His nine winning seasons at Toledo included the 1995 MAC championship, with the Rockets going 11-0-1 and finishing at No. 24 in the final polls. Pinkel would lead Toledo to three other MAC West Division titles. In 1997, the Rockets finished 9-3, climbing as high as No. 18 in the national rankings. They repeated as division champions again in 1998 with a 7-5 record. In his final season with the Rockets in 2000, the team went 10-1, including a 24-6 win at Penn State. The team finished the regular season with the MAC West Division title and ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1997.

Pinkel took over at Missouri in 2001, inheriting a program that had produced just one 10-win season in school history and two winning seasons in the previous 17 years. Pinkel would transform the program, leading the Tigers to 10 winning seasons (including five years with 10 wins or more), five conference division titles, 10 bowl appearances, and six bowl victories. The end result: an overall record of 118-73 and the distinction of being the school’s all-time winningest coach.

Pinkel’s Missouri teams posted final top-20 national rankings five times, including AP rankings of No. 4 in 2007 and No. 5 in 2013. In 2007, he was named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf, and he won conference coach of the year honors in 2007 (Big 12) and 2014 (SEC). In 2007, Mizzou claimed the school’s first No. 1 national ranking since 1960 after a watershed 36-17 win against archrival Kansas in the Border Showdown at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 24, 2007. The Tigers subsequently fell short against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, but the team ended the season with a school-record 12 wins, including a win in the Cotton Bowl and a No. 4 final national ranking.

Pinkel’s finest year may have come in 2013, one year after Mizzou joined the SEC. Picked to finish sixth in the SEC Eastern Division, the Tigers finished 11-1 as East Division champs, and they gave Pinkel his second victory in the Cotton Bowl and his second 12-win season along with a final No. 5 ranking in the national polls. Pinkel would lead the Tigers back to the SEC Championship Game in 2014, falling short against Alabama. The team finished the season with a win against Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl and an 11-3 record and No. 14 ranking in the AP Poll.

After his final game in 2015 and announcing his retirement because of a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Pinkel ranked as the third-winningest active coach behind future College Football Hall of Fame inductees Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and Bill Snyder of Kansas State. Pinkel also is one of only three coaches in history to be the winningest coach of two college football programs, joining College Football Hall of Fame inductees Bear Bryant (Kentucky, Alabama) and Steve Spurrier (Florida, South Carolina). Pinkel coached 10 First Team All-Americans, three Academic All-Americans, three NFF National Scholar-Athletes, and 79 first-team all-conference players.

Prior to becoming a head coach, Pinkel was an all-conference and Honorable Mention All-America tight end at Kent State, playing for future College Football Hall of Fame Coach Don James. Pinkel worked as an assistant under James at Washington for 12 years, including the Huskies’ 1991 national championship team. He also served as an assistant at Kent State and Bowling Green.

Pinkel has been inducted into multiple halls of fame, including the State of Missouri Sports, St. Louis Sports Commission, Mid-American Conference, Toledo Athletics, Kent State Athletics and Kenmore High School. Active in the community, he created the GP Made Foundation to help youth facing difficult challenges and he has raised more than $10 million for charitable causes. In 2017, Pinkel released an autobiography “The 100-Yard Journey: A Life in Coaching and Battling for the Win.”



  • LaVar Arrington – LB, Penn State (1997-99)
  • Champ Bailey – DB, Georgia (1996-98)
  • Michael Crabtree – WR, Texas Tech (2007-08)
  • Sylvester Croom – C, Alabama (1972-74)
  • Mike Doss – S, Ohio State (1999-2002)
  • Chuck Ealey – QB, Toledo (1969-71)
  • Kevin Faulk – AP/RB, LSU (1995-98)
  • Moe Gardner – DT, Illinois (1987-90)
  • Boomer Grigsby – LB, Illinois State (2001-04)
  • Mike Hass – WR, Oregon State (2002-05)
  • Marvin Jones – LB, Florida State (1990-92)
  • Andrew Luck – QB, Stanford (2009-11)
  • Mark Messner – DT, Michigan (1985-88)
  • Terry Miller – RB, Oklahoma State (1974-77)
  • Rashaan Salaam – RB, Colorado (1992-94)
  • Dennis Thomas – C, Alcorn State (1971-73)
  • Zach Wiegert – OT, Nebraska (1991-94)
  • Roy Williams – DB, Oklahoma (1999-2001)


  • John Luckhardt – 225-70-2 (76.1%); Washington & Jefferson [PA] (1982-98), California [PA] (2002-11)
  • Billy Jack Murphy – 91-44-1 (67.3%); Memphis (1958-71)
  • Gary Pinkel – 191-110-3 (63.3%); Toledo (1991-2000), Missouri (2001-15)

To report a correction or typo, please email

Copyright 2022 KY3. All rights reserved.