COLUMBIA — The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced a list of more than 200 names on its ballot Tuesday for the 2021 class of inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame. Voting will run through July 7 and the 2021 Class will be announced early next year.
Included among the list of names of seven FBS coaches is former Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. According to the NFF, a coach is eligible "three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage."
Pinkel, born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, played tight end at Kent State and took over at Toledo in 1991 when former teammate Nick Saban left for the NFL, and was at Missouri from 2001-2015. He is the winningest head coach in program history at both schools, finishing his head coaching career 191-110-3 (a .633 win percentage).
The other six candidates are Larry Blakeney (Troy), Jim Carlen (West Virginia/Texas Tech/South Carolina), Pete Cawthorn Sr. (Austin College/Texas Tech), Billy Jack Murphy (Memphis), Darryl Rogers (Cal State-East Bay/Fresno State/San Jose State/Michigan State/Arizona State) and Bob Stoops (Oklahoma).
Voters are instructed to vote for two eligible coaches on their ballots. Among the candidates, Pinkel is first in wins, edging Stoops by one, and fourth in winning percentage, behind Stoops' .798, Murphy's .673 and Cawthorn Sr.'s .645, and second in total wins.
Pinkel had one conference championship (MAC, 1995) and eight division championships (MAC West 1997-98, 2000, Big 12 North 2007-08, 2010, SEC East 2013-14). He went 118-73 in 15 seasons with the Tigers, including a 47-42 mark in the Big 12 and 17-15 in the SEC. Five of those seasons were losing seasons, with three occurring in his first four years in Columbia, one during Missouri's first year in the SEC and the last during his final year at Missouri in which he battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
From 2003-2010, the Tigers never finished worse than tied for third in the Big 12 North. More than 50 of Pinkel's former players at Missouri went on to play in the NFL, including seven first-round picks between 2009-2015.
Pinkel has been active in retirement, sponsoring scholarships and research for childhood leukemia and lymphoma through his GP M.A.D.E foundation.