University of Missouri

Mike Alden says no one has asked him about Gary Pinkel’s availability

Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel and the rest of the team celebrated when a ruling on the field was reversed, giving Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (not pictured) a fumble recovery and the Missouri offense the ball late in the fourth quarter against Arkansas on Nov. 28 at Faurot Field in Columbia. Missouri beat Arkansas 21-14, claiming their second consecutive SEC East Division Championship.
Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel and the rest of the team celebrated when a ruling on the field was reversed, giving Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (not pictured) a fumble recovery and the Missouri offense the ball late in the fourth quarter against Arkansas on Nov. 28 at Faurot Field in Columbia. Missouri beat Arkansas 21-14, claiming their second consecutive SEC East Division Championship. The Kansas City Star

Feel free to ignore any lingering rumors that link Missouri coach Gary Pinkel to the vacant Michigan job or any other open position.

Tigers athletic director Mike Alden said Friday that he hasn’t fielded any inquiries about Pinkel’s availability.

“That’s something I normally wouldn’t talk about, but the direct answer to your question is no,” Alden said.

It’s unclear if Pinkel, 62, who turned down a chance to interview with the Wolverines when Brady Hoke was hired in 2011, would have any interest in changing jobs anyway.

He signed a contract extension in March through 2020 and guided Missouri to a second consecutive SEC Championship Game earlier this month.

“You’re building a legacy where you’re at in the SEC — at a place where you’re not tolerated, you’re celebrated,” Alden said. “He is celebrated where he’s at, and I think that’s really important that’s an environment that you’re in.”

Alden doesn’t expect to negotiate another extension with Pinkel this offseason.

Instead, the recently announced plans to build a new football complex on the south end of Memorial Stadium is seen as a nod to the program’s continued excellence under Pinkel.

“We want to continue to build our program, and right now that focus is on facility growth and development,” Alden said.

Alden announced plans in early December to put construction of a full-length indoor practice facility on the back burner in favor of building a new south end-zone complex — which is expected to include new football offices, a weight room and training facility and a new locker room at Memorial Stadium, pending approval from the University of Missouri System Board of Curators.

The Tigers have won at least 10 games and claimed at least a share of a Big 12 or SEC division title in five of the last eight seasons under Pinkel, MU’s all-time leader with 112 wins.

Pinkel signed an extension after the 2013 season that raised his annual salary to $3.17 million with an automatic $100,000 escalator each of year of the contract, which runs through 2020.

He also received $300,000 in previously deferred compensation on March 1 and will receive another $300,000 from the university-controlled fund on March 1, 2015.

Additionally, Pinkel has earned $550,000 in bonuses for the 2014 season — $100,000 for reaching the SEC Championship Game, $150,000 for making the Citrus Bowl, $100,000 for a 10-win season and $50,000 for winning the SEC coach of the year in voting by his peers.

Alden also said the home game ticket receipts were nearly $15.2 million, triggering a $150,000 bonus for Pinkel.

Gross ticket sales fell short of the $15.5 million plateau at which point Pinkel is entitled to 1 percent of the gross ticket sales.

Pinkel would earn another $50,000 if Missouri beats Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando.

He also will receive $50,000 if the Tigers the finish in the College Football Playoff’s top 25 ranking, double that if MU moves into the top 10 in the final poll.

“We’re pleased with that,” Alden said. “He’s earned all of that. Here’s a guy that has built a program that is nationally respected, and you want to be able to reward him. We want to continue to do that.”

As of Friday afternoon, Missouri has sold roughly 6,500 tickets — approximately 70 percent of its allotment — for the Citrus Bowl against Minnesota on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

MU executive associate athletic director Bryan Maggard originally said the Tigers’ allotment would be 8,000 tickets, but that figure has been revised to 9,400.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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