Prolonging his “career commitment,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel signed a contract Friday that will keep him at MU through 2008.
The contract guarantees Pinkel $1.07 million per year. The figure combines a base salary of $250,000 and $820,000 in supplemental money.
On Monday, Pinkel said he hoped to dedicate the rest of his career to coaching the Tigers.
“I want to stay at Missouri and build a national program,” Pinkel said. “I believe now, more than ever, that we can do it.
“When you’re 51 years old, and you’re right here where you’re at, to me, it’s a commitment. I’m committed to this place. A career commitment, if they’ll have me that long.”
Pinkel previously made $185,000 base salary, $570,000 with supplemental income. According to the athletic department, Pinkel’s new base salary is the fifth highest of head coaches in the Big 12 Conference.
Many of Pinkel’s incentive bonuses stayed the same. One change took away the $10,000 compensation for winning seven games. Next season, Pinkel will have to win eight games to receive the same amount.
The attendance incentives in Pinkel’s contract also changed. If 40,000 people buy season tickets, Pinkel will receive an extra $25,000. Pinkel previously received $10,000 if attendance averaged 60,000 at Faurot Field.
“I think this is a significant statement by the University of Missouri, and by Gary Pinkel as well,” Athletic Director Mike Alden said. “It’s a real commitment on both parts that we’re going to work together for a long time.”
EIGHT IS GREAT: With a win against Iowa State on Saturday, Missouri will have eight wins for the first time since 1998, which is also the year of the Tigers’ most recent bowl appearance.
Pinkel said getting to eight wins is a big step for his program.
“This is a critical game for our football program,” Pinkel said. “I can’t express that strong enough. To win eight games makes this a huge, huge football game for the University of Missouri and the program.”
HOME AT THE ZOU: Along with reaching the eight-win mark; Missouri has a chance to go 6-0 at home for the first time in school history.
Missouri would also be undefeated atMemorial Stadium for the 12th time in the venue’s history and the first time since 1974, when the Tigers went 5-0.
Defensive tackle Russ Bell said winning every game at “The Zou,” (the nickname MU players have given Memorial Stadium) is the trademark of a good program.
“A chance to be undefeated at home is a big goal,” Bell said. “Being unbeaten at home gives us a lot of motivation to win this game. That is a big deal for this team.”
MISSOURI BROADCAST NETWORK: The Tigers game against Iowa State will be on ABC at noon Saturday. That appearance will be MU’s eighth televised game of the season, a school record. The 1984 team held the previous record of seven.
Missouri’s bowl appearance will give it nine televised games, one more than the Tigers played on television in 2001 and 2002 combined.
SIMPSON BACK: Missouri reinstated outside safety Jason Simpson.
Simpson missed the Kansas State game, serving a suspension for violation of an undisclosed team rule.
David Overstreet started in Simpson’s place against the Wildcats, making a career-high 12 tackles. Overstreet is ahead of Simpson on this week’s depth chart.
BOWLED OVER: Pinkel is not thinking about where or when the Tigers’ bowl game might be. Instead, MU is concerned about Iowa State.
A win against the Cyclones would put Missouri in position for one of the Big 12 Conference’s top five bowl games.
The Tigers’ most likely destination is Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl, but they could land in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio with a win and a Nebraska loss to Colorado.
Missouri will not find out its bowl destination until Dec. 7, the day after Oklahoma plays Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game.
MU players echoed Pinkel’s sentiments, saying their focus is on the Cyclones and nothing else.
Outside safety Dedrick Harrington said a bowl destination is of little importance this week.
“We have too much to accomplish this week,” Harrington said. “You can be someone even better if you win eight games, so our focus needs to be on this week and getting another win.”