Meeting with reporters for the first time since Missouri’s victory in the Cotton Bowl, coach Gary Pinkel expressed frustration with the ongoing effort to renegotiate contracts for his assistant coaches.
Pinkel’s Tigers matched the program record for wins, going 12-2 and winning the SEC East division title and a berth in the conference championship game.
Previously, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden indicated that Pinkel and his staff might be in line for raises after orchestrating a remarkable turnaround in the program’s second season in the SEC.
Progress hasn’t been speedy.
“It’s a slow process,” Pinkel said. “We’re disappointed to this point, but we’ll see where it goes.”
Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel signed a two-year contract last summer that pays an annual base salary of $550,000.
Josh Henson, who replaced Dave Yost as offensive coordinator for the 2013 season, also signed a two-year deal during the summer worth $500,000 per season.
Steckel’s salary ranks 13th among SEC assistant coaches, according to the USA Today college football assistant coach salary data base, and Henson’s salary ranks 18th overall.
For comparison, Georgia lured defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt away from Florida State, where he worked in the same position for the national champion Seminoles, for a three-year deal at $850,000 per year.
The highest-paid assistant coach in the nation last season was Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris ($1.3 million), while Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart received a $1.15 million base salary and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis made $1.1 million.
Of course, salaries weren’t the only thing on Pinkel’s mind. He also addressed sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham’s recent arrest — kind of. Green-Beckham was arrested this month in Springfield after the vehicle he was riding in was stopped by police, who discovered marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a subsequent search.
“Consistent with since the day I got here, I never discuss any discipline issues that we have,” Pinkel said.
Even when pressed for a general philosophy about handling player misconduct — whether he’d wait for the legal process to play out or make his own judgment — Pinkel declined to offer specifics.
“The subject matter, I don’t particularly want to talk about,” he said. “We’ll do it another time. I’d be happy to do it, but don’t particularly want to talk about it right now.”
Pinkel did talk about running back Henry Josey’s decision to enter the NFL Draft.
“Ultimately, when a player comes to a decision, we support it and it’s the right decision,” Pinkel said. “… Everybody has their reasons for doing it and, for the reasons he expressed to me, it was important for him to do it this year. So, we support him and back him and wish him the best.”