In a press release, University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel announced that he will stepping down from his position at the end of the season.
Pinkel said that the decision was due to his health. He was was diagnosed in May of 2015 with lymphoma. He received multiple treatments in May and June, and has decided to step down at the end of the year.
“I made the decision in May, after visiting with my family, that I wanted to keep coaching, as long as I felt good and had the energy I needed,” Pinkel said. “I felt great going into the season, but also knew that I would need to re-assess things at some point, and I set our bye week as the time when I would take stock of the future. After we played Vanderbilt (Oct. 24), I had a scheduled PET scan on Oct. 26th for reassessment, and then visited with my family and came to the decision on October 27th that this would be my last year coaching. I still feel good physically, but I decided that I want to focus on enjoying my remaining years with my family and friends, and also have proper time to battle the disease and give full attention to that.”
Pinel has come to national prominence lately after he supported his players after they refused to play until university president Tim Wolfe would resign.
Cover Photo Credit: Tim Tai/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
By Sean Moran
On Sunday the two matchups for the second College Football Playoff were announced. The No. 1 seed Clemson Tigers will the face No. 4 seed Oklahoma Sooners at 4 p.m. Eastern in the Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
The Alabama Crimson Tide, the No. 2 seed, will face off against the third seeded Michigan State Spartans in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at 8 p.m., also on New Year’s Eve. Both games will be televised on ESPN.
Both games look to be great matchups, but there are also some interesting off the field storylines that will make this year’s college football playoff even more interesting than last year.
#1 Clemson vs #4 Oklahoma: This game is a rematch of last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl during which Clemson stomped Oklahoma 40 to 6. It was a sweet win for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who faced his former team for the first time since he was fired in 2011. Clemson dominated the game from the very beginning as Oklahoma only managed to gain 275 yards of total offense.
Clemson hopes to do the same thing this year as it again boasts one of the nation’s best defenses. Led by players such as defensive tackle Shaq Lawson and safety Jayron Kearse Jr., Clemson has the nation’s 5th ranked passing defense, is 7th in total yards allowed per game, and has recorded over 38 sacks, good enough for 12th in the nation (NCAA statistics).
But outside of North Carolina and Florida State, Clemson hasn’t’ faced an offense as good and with as many athletes as Oklahoma’s.
But Clemson’s offense is just as good if not better this year under the reigns of true sophomore quarterback and Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson.
Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney have had a great season and have finally put to rest the slur of “Clemsoning”.
Last year, Watson missed the bowl game after tearing and playing with a partially torn ACL during the season’s final month, but he’s been playing like a man possessed this year. Watson won the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award, as he threw for 3500 yards, rushed for nearly 900, accounting for 41 touchdowns.
Bob Stoops looks to get some payback for last year’s embarrassing lose and earn a shot to win his second national championship. The Sooners’ offense, under the direction of coordinator Lincoln Riley, has torched teams in the air and on the ground. Former walk-on Baker Mayfield, considered by many to be a Heisman snub, has played fantastic and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon (a coveted high school player who sat out his freshman year for a domestic violence incident) are two of the better backs in the country. Senior wide out Sterling Shephard has also been one of the best wide receivers in the country during his four years in Norman.
Despite the Big 12’s reputation as pass happy, basketball on turf, Oklahoma fielded one of the better defensive units in the nation. The Sooners held opposing offenses to less than 21 points per game, recorded the 4th most sacks in the nation (38), and forced 26 turnovers (NCAA statistics). Eric Striker, properly named, is one of the nation’s premier pass-rushing linebackers, and cornerback Zack Sanchez has recorded six interceptions this year.
With two high powered offenses I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned into a track meet where the team with the ball last wins.
But if it’s soggy or raining in Miami, defense could ultimately determine who wins.
Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney have had a great season and have finally put to rest “Clemsoning”, but I’m going with Oklahoma in this game. The Sooners are much more battle tested after having played in a fairly strong schedule against the Big 12 and a decent Tennessee team out of conference.
Final score prediction: Oklahoma 42-Clemson 35
#2 Alabama vs #3 Michigan State: Clemson and Oklahoma will be fast paced with lots of scoring, but this game will be more reminiscent of “old man football”. Both teams like to play smash-mouth football by running the ball down opponents’ throats on offense and stifling them with tough defense.
This game features another matchup of a coach going against his former school as Nick Saban leads the Crimson Tide against the Spartans. From 1995-1999 Saban led Michigan State and also employed current Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio. These two teams last met in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, a 49-7 Alabama victory.
These teams are so similar in regards to their playing style and philosophies, but Alabama just has better talent.
The Crimson Tide really has only one strategy on offense: giving Derrick Henry the ball. Henry has been a monster this year, shredding defenses on his way to one of the best seasons in the history of college football. Even when they know it’s coming, defenses have been unable to stop him. He broke Herschel Walker’s single season SEC rushing record with 1,986 yards and his 23 rushing touchdowns are currently tied for the SEC record with Tim Tebow and Tre Mason.
With teams selling out to limit the rushing attack and Henry, Alabama has enough of a passing attack to make them pay.
Jacob Coker hasn’t lived up to the enormous hype and expectations of Alabama fans, but he does enough to win games by avoiding turnovers and scrambling to avoid sacks. Calvin Ridley, a talented true freshman wide receiver, emerged as a playmaker alongside Ardarius Stewart and tight end O.J. Howard.
What hasn’t already been said about Alabama’s defense? Arguably the most talented front seven in the nation, the Crimson Tide are loaded on the defensive side of the ball.
In the secondary, Eddie Jackson has flourished after a move from corner to safety and Cyrus Jones has become an elite corner and return man. Linebacker Reggie Ragland draws comparisons to Bama greats Don’t’a Hightower and CJ Mosely, while the defensive line has potential NFL first round draft picks Johnathan Allen, A’Shawn Robinson, and Jarran Reed. This defense is simply lights out with the only concern being Kirby Smart’s possible source of distraction as he tries to balance his new job as Georgia’s head coach.
Michigan State follows a blueprint similar to Alabama on both offense and defense. Senior quarterback Connor Cook was receiving preseason Heisman buzz, but battled injuries and inconsistency all year. As the winningest QB in Spartan history, Cook has big game experience and when he’s hot he can beat anyone in the country. True freshman LJ Scott, the hero of the Big 10 Championship game, emerged as the leading running back this year and looks to continue his success against the best run defense in the nation.
Although they lost some talent to the NFL last year, Michigan State once again had one of the best defenses in the nation. Shilique Calhoun was a terror on the defensive line as he tallied up 10.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss and the Spartans ranked 7th in the nation in rush defense and turnovers forced.
These teams are so similar in regards to their playing style and philosophies, but Alabama just has better talent.
Michigan State prides itself on recruiting overlooked players to develop and coach up, while Alabama annually recruits the best athletes in the nation and produces numerous NFL draft picks. If this were 2013 or last year, I think Michigan State would have a great chance to win this game but they’ve been inconsistent at times this year (struggled against Western Michigan, barely beat Michigan, and lost to Nebraska). Meanwhile, Alabama has been out for blood since their home loss to Ole Miss in September.
Final score prediction: Alabama 23-Michigan State 10
Cover Photo Credit: John Martinez Pavliga/Flickr (CC by –SA 2.0).Post Views: 576
What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that it will be suspending the referees who officiated the Miami- Duke last night after it was determined that the officials blew a game winning call.
For those who don’t know, Miami beat Duke in a last second kick return for the ages. Eight laterals and a maze of missed tackles later, Miami beat Duke in one of the most incredible plays in recent college football history.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the play should have ended many, many times and should have never stood as a touchdown.
The ACC responded today to allegations from Duke fans that the refs blew the call.
Here’s the full ACC release on the officials in Miami-Duke. Cliffs notes: They blew everything. pic.twitter.com/PdvGYcbPvs
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) November 1, 2015
“The quality of our officiating program is of the highest importance to the league and its schools, and the last play of the game was not handled appropriately,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a press release. “Officiating is an extraordinarily difficult job but our players, coaches, programs and fans deserve the best that can be offered. We will continue to strive to meet that standard.”
The on-field officiating crew as well as the replay official and communicator will be suspended for the next two weeks.
Miami responded in the most “Miami” way possible via Twitter after learning of the suspensions.
— Miami Hurricanes (@MiamiHurricanes) November 1, 2015
Is this enough for you Duke fans? Tell us in the comments below.
Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot/ ESPN (Youtube)Post Views: 603
What Do You Think?
By Jordan Patterson
“The Game knows.”
Throughout my career as a college softball player at the University of Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times.
From teammates, from coaches, and even from family.
There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know.
That it saw all of the extra work I put in.
That it appreciated my genuine happiness for the teammates who played over me.
That it sensed just how badly I wanted to succeed. And because of that, my time would eventually come.
On the day that my collegiate career came to an end, if you had asked me whether I believed that the Game knows, I probably would have said yes.
It wouldn’t have been a lie, but my words would have lacked conviction.
Throughout my career, I worked hard. Very hard.
I tried to do things the right way and be a good teammate. And yet, things never really clicked for me on the field. So yes, I thought that “the Game knows” was a nice idea to cling to, but it didn’t ring true for me at the time.
Ask me that question today, however, and I will look you dead in the eyes and tell you with an unwavering voice that the Game really does know. You can’t fool it- it sees your heart. It knows who deserves to be rewarded, and it will do so accordingly.
So what changed? Why am I now a believer? Well, let me tell you a story.
I arrived on Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2010, making the 10 minute drive from my parents’ house down the road.
This was what I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember- to wear the script A on my chest. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope. My classmates quickly became my best friends (#SS forever). I was working my butt off in the weight room, coming to practice early, staying late, and loving every minute of it.
I was a catcher, and there were two junior catchers on the team who were both wonderful players and even better people.
They taught me so much, and I truly loved getting to learn from them (shout out to Kendall Dawson and Olivia Gibson- BS da best).
I didn’t play much at all during those first two years- a few pinch hit opportunities here and there. The two of them handled almost all of the catching responsibilities.
I missed being on the field every day, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to play at Alabama.
I knew that catching time would be limited in the first two years. It didn’t matter to me- I just wanted to WIN.
I figured that I would spend those first two years learning, getting stronger, and improving all aspects of my game.
By junior year, I would be ready. Ready to lead the infield, ready to manage the pitchers, ready to get the job done at the plate.
I have never worked as hard as I did during those two years. I improved, but not as much as I hoped that I would. As I said, I didn’t play much, but I stayed the course.
I tried to be a great teammate and contribute from the bench through positive energy and enthusiasm.
We ended up winning the National Championship my sophomore year, and it was the most rewarding experience of my life.
That team was truly something special. So special that one of my dearest teammates wrote a book about our journey that year- Finish It by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. READ IT. You won’t regret it.
Coming off of the National Championship, I was more determined than ever.
We had two catchers coming back- myself and a sophomore, Chaunsey Bell. I knew that both of us would be given opportunities to prove ourselves early on, and I was going to give it everything that I had.
I had played the role of supportive teammate for two years and really took pride in that. It’s so important. Every team needs role-players who take pride in their job on the bench.
But now, I wanted to be on the field more than ever. The Game knew, right? It had seen all of the hard work over the past two years. It knew my heart. In the back of my mind, that little phrase gave me hope that it was finally my time.
I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember getting a call from my coach the summer before my junior year.
“We are adding a transfer to your class. We know that y’all are very close, but we trust you to take her in and make her a part of your family.”
Absolutely. No-brainer. I had full trust in our coaches and knew that they would not bring anyone into our family that didn’t belong there. I wasn’t sure who the transfer was, but I was excited to find out.
A couple of weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my summer internship when I got a text from coach Patrick Murphy or as we affectionally call him, Murph.
“Molly Fichtner is going to be a part of our family! Here is her number. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome.”
I excitedly got onand read the article about Molly’s transfer, and my heart sunk.
While Molly had played shortstop at her old school, the press release said that she would probably be working at catcher here.
I can’t explain the feeling that I got- I just remember thinking that this was going to change everything.
It was such a selfish reaction, and it is the moment that I am most ashamed of from my four years at Bama.
Well, it did change everything. Molly arrived on campus that fall and I immediately knew that she was special. She fit in perfectly with our team and quickly became one of my best friends.
On the field, she was stellar. She swung a great bat and consistently threw baserunners out stealing. She beat me out, plain and simple.
That year was a roller coaster of emotions.
I was so happy that Molly had ended up at Bama. She belonged on the big stage. She was one of the best people I had ever met, with a heart bigger than her home state of Texas.
On the other hand, I was heartbroken. While no spots in the lineup are ever set in stone, and I kept working hard, I simply knew that my next two years were going to be much like my first two.
If coaches read this, they will probably cringe at that statement, and they would be right in doing so.
You never want your players to give up on themselves. There are so many stories of players who turn it around their senior year and are basically a completely different player.
If I was a coach, I would preach that to all of my non-starters. You are never stuck in that role. There is always something you can do to get better, and don’t ever stop trying.
I knew that Murph still believed in me.
However, looking back, I think that there was a reason that I got the “feeling” that I was going to remain a role-player. W
hen I began to accept that my job as an upperclassmen was going to be leading from the bench, I was able to truly commit to it.
I kept working hard, still came early and stayed late, but my motivations for doing so began to change. Instead of being motivated by the desire for personal success, I was motivated by the desire for team success.
I needed to work my butt off so that I could demand that others do the same. I needed to keep getting better at blocking and framing so that the other catchers were pushed to get better.
While I had always been a “team player” on the surface, I had finally morphed into a “team player” at heart.
There were still times during those two years that were hard. As an athlete, you always want to be on the field.
It’s something that’s inside of you- a burning desire that doesn’t just go away.
Tears fell on occasion.
It didn’t happen often, but sometimes I would wonder why it just never clicked for me on the field, even though I tried so hard and cared so deeply.
Now, I’m two years removed from the game, and I wouldn’t trade those moments of sadness and frustration for anything.
You know what? That’s life.
Sometimes, you are going to put every ounce of your being into something, and it’s not going to work out exactly the way you wanted it to.
Get over it.
No, I never became a starter. But I did have the best experience of my life.
I learned lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.
When I walked off the field at the Women’s College World Series in 2014 after Florida beat us in the championship series, I had no regrets. I was truly thankful to the Game for everything it gave me, and I didn’t expect anything else from it.
I had experienced so much team success at Bama, and that truly was enough for me.
Little did I know, the Game would give me the biggest personal reward of all two years after I walked off the field.
I chose to go to law school after I got done playing. The legal market is pretty tough right now, and jobs can be hard to come by.
If you want to work in a law firm, the best way to secure a job for after graduation is to get a Summer Associate position.
Most firms hire law students the summer after their second year of school, with the intention of extending a full-time offer after the summer is over if you do a good job. Competition for these positions is fierce and the interview process is lengthy.
After living in Tuscaloosa for my whole life, I have been itching to move to a big city.
When it came time to start applying for Summer Associate positions, I knew that Washington, D.C. was my top choice geographically.
The problem was that it can be pretty hard to get your foot in the door at D.C. law firms.
They do not typically recruit students from Alabama, tending to get their Summer Associates from more “prestigious” schools. Side note: I would put my school up against any in the country and am so thankful that I ended up there. But I digress.
A family friend of my family is a partner at arguably one of the best law firms in the world, and I expressed my desire to end up in D.C. to her.
She graciously offered to set me up with another partner at her firm who knew a lot about the D.C. market.
I was thankful for any help that I could get, and booked a flight up to go meet with him. I had nothing to lose- I wasn’t even thinking about asking this man for an interview.
He was just going to give me some advice on how I should go about applying to smaller D.C. firms that might be willing to interview a student from Alabama who was not at the top of her class.
As it turned out, he ended up being the Hiring Partner- in charge of hiring all of the firm’s Summer Associates.
Well, lucky for me, he happened to Google my name before meeting me for breakfast. When he did, he found a Tuscaloosa News feature article that was written about me during my senior year.
The article basically told the story that I’ve been telling you here: that I was a hard worker and always tried to be a good teammate.
The Hiring Partner brought it up at breakfast, saying that those are the qualities he looks for when hiring law students and that it’s not often that he has tangible proof that someone possesses them.
He then proceeded to ask me “if I was opposed to interviewing with them.”
The firm flew me back up to D.C. the next week.
I had five 30 minute interviews with different attorneys.
The first four went very well. I walked into my last interview with one of the attorneys that was on the recruiting committee (so it was really important that this one went well).
He was a big sports fan, so we immediately started talking about softball.
He asked me if I had played much, and I truthfully answered no. Then I got THE question: “What did you learn from that?”
There is not a single interview question in the world that is more suited for me than that one.
I proceeded to explain to him for over 45 minutes precisely what I learned from being a role-player throughout my four years at Bama, rather than a starter. Resiliency. Selflessness.
How to take pride in your role, whatever it may be. What it really means to put the team first. I walked out of his office knowing that it was the best I had ever done in an interview.
Two days later, the Hiring Partner called and offered me a job. I lived in D.C. for the summer, working at the firm, and loved every minute of the experience. I was surrounded by former Supreme Court clerks, attorneys at the very top of their fields, and genuinely wonderful people.
On paper, I had no business being here. I do not have the same level of qualifications that my fellow Summer Associates had. Yet, there I was. All because I chose to keep working hard even though I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.
My coaches and teammates noticed.
A reporter chose to care about a story that almost no one else would. And then, of all things, someone Google’d me.
Do not tell me that the Game doesn’t know.
So, to any players out there struggling with being a role-player: keep working hard. Keep putting the team above yourself.
Keep trusting your coaches. Believe me, I know that it hurts at times. But the Game sees you, and it will reward you.
It won’t always be in the way that you wanted or pictured it, though. Sometimes the reward will come years later, in a way that will have a much greater impact on the course of your life than getting more playing time ever will.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jordan Patterson is a former University of Alabama softball player. She is currently in law school at Alabama.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Patterson/ Facebook
WATCH-The Truth Behind Tomi Lahren:Post Views: 26,996
What Do You Think?