University of Missouri

Former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel says his cancer has returned

Gary Pinkel’s cancer has returned and the former Missouri football coach is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma for the first time in four years.

Speaking to KMIZ-TV in Columbia on Sunday night, Pinkel said he wasn’t looking for any sympathy.

“I’m doing good,” he said. “My cancer came out of remission, and so I had treatment last month. I’m doing fine,” Pinkel said. “With my type of lymphoma, you’ll never be healed. But that’s kind of why I retired when I did — I just wanted to not go back and regret working 85 hours a week, 35 weeks out of the year when I could be doing other things with my family and my eight grandkids.”

Pinkel retired from coaching after his initial diagnosis in November 2015. He was replaced by his defensive coordinator, Barry Odom, who is entering his fourth season running the Tigers’ program. Pinkel, 67, recently launched a foundation, GP M.A.D.E, which raises money for kids with cancer, with physical challenges or who are in tough economic or social situations. On Monday, Pinkel’s foundation will host a Par 3 Golf Rally at Old Hawthorne course in Columbia. His goal is to raise $365,000 a year.

“I can’t imagine a nine-year-old looking in the mirror, you know you’ve got leukemia or lymphoma,” Pinkel told KMIZ. “The importance of research is huge.”

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.