Campus Corner

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel makes MAC Hall of Fame ceremony with help from Kentucky coaches

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel Gary Pinkel went into the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame for his success as coach at Toledo.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel Gary Pinkel went into the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame for his success as coach at Toledo. The Associated Press

What’s the deal with Missouri coaches and plane rides?

Tigers football coach Gary Pinkel nearly missed his Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame induction ceremony Wednesday night in Cleveland due to mechanical issues with his charter flight.

Pinkel, 63, who was attending the annual SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., wasn’t able to scramble and get another charter in 25 minutes.

Fortunately, Pinkel, an Akron native, was able to hop aboard a charter taking Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari and football coach Mark Stoops to Lexington, Ky., and made it to the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel despite rainstorms across the Midwest a few minutes before his introduction.

“It’s a miracle,” he told the crowd. “I really wanted to be here.”

Pinkel played tight end at Kent State for the 1972 MAC champion, where he played for Don James and was teammates with Alabama coach Nick Saban.

He already had been inducted in the Golden Flash Hall of Fame and the Toledo athletics Hall of Fame.

Pinkel is the winningest coach in Rockets history with a 73-37-3 record and led the program to the MAC crown in 1995.

Now, he’s also a member of the conference’s Hall of Fame, joining a class that also included Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Pinkel, who is the winningest coach in Missouri history at 113-66 overall, is one of two coaches in the country to boast the most wins at two Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Steve Spurrier, who owns the records at Florida (122) and South Carolina (84), is the other.

Pinkel, who is expecting the birth of his eighth grandchild, has led MU to consecutive SEC East division titles and appearances in the SEC Championship Game.

Tigers men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson had a harrowing experience when a plane he was flying in during a recruiting trip in February experienced mechanical issues mid-flight and was forced to make an emergency landing.

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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