Earlier this week, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was chosen as the SEC coach of the year by his peers.
“That’s very flattering to me, honestly, but it’s never been a goal of mine,” Pinkel said. “What it means is you’ve got a great group of coaches, you’ve got great players and, generally, you’ve had very good success. I’m just part of the whole group.”
Pinkel, who led the Tigers to a second straight SEC East division title, learned about the honor while recruiting out west.
“Honestly, that came from nowhere,” he said. “I was recruiting in California and I got a call about that. I just had no idea where that came from.”
Pinkel, whose program has won a divisional title and at least 10 games in five of the last eight seasons, made sure to share credit for the award.
“I’d say, ‘Thanks, I’m surrounded by great people,’” Pinkel said. “That’s every text I sent to everybody, even the coaches.”
Pinkel received a $50,000 bonus for being selected SEC coach of the year.
MU, 10-3, plays Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
Missouri was without five players, including three starters, for its first practice of the bowl season.
Senior defensive tackle Matt Hoch (right quad strain), senior wide receiver Jimmie Hunt (left shoulder sprain) and junior left guard Brad McNulty (right knee sprain) were sidelined along with freshman running back Ish Witter (ankle) and junior safety Cortland Browning.
Hoch, Hunt, McNulty and Witter are day-to-day.
“We’ve got a few guys banged up, but I think we’re going to get most of them back,” Pinkel said.
Browning missed the SEC Championship Game after suffering a Lisfranc injury in his right foot during practice before the game. He had surgery Monday and will be sidelined three months, he said.