The University of Missouri football coaching staff is much bigger than the nearly dozen or so coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and staff who draw a regular paycheck from the university.
Rather, the staff is more family than payroll. Tigers, past, present and future have a hand in either the success or failing of the Tiger program. Going into the vaunted SEC Conference, the black and gold will need all the help and support they can get.
A legion of Tiger admirers, mostly from the booster St. Louis Quarterback club crammed the auditorium of the Edward Jones complex in Des Peres Tuesday night to hang on the words of Gary Pinkel, their 11 year coach, and other notables within the program and hear about their newest crop of incoming players. Here's the complete list of signees.
No one in the Tiger family is more revered than recently-retired octogenerian John Kadlec who began his football career some 60 years earlier at South Side Catholic (St. Mary’s). Kadlec heaped his praise on the Pinkel staff. So too did newcomer announcer Howard Richards (recruited by Kadlec from Southwest High in the 80s to Mizzou) who went on to become an All American and have a lengthy All Pro Bowl career with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Tigers have the added task now of facing the nation’s top teams on any given Saturday. The schedule features the likes of Alabama, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and more.
Fans got to ask Pinkel questions from the gallery. “Gary, what do you think about spending $30 to $40 million to rennovate your stadium and facilities?”
Pinkel shot back before the ball could be set onto the tee: “Not enough. You can join the conference and muck around, but we’ve joined to be competitive with the best. It will take a lot more (money) than that.”
Tiger fans liked that. He went over the terms of commitment for a big time program like having the top-rated practice facilities, the best recruits, larger stadium, you name it.
The casual fan probably thinks recruiting of high school prospects is routine stuff. That’s hardly the case. Assistant coaches and head coach are on the road between games and practices and constantly during brief off seasons, culling the best talent in the nation.
They go down backroads and farm fields to find people like defensive lineman Rickey Hatley from Atlanta, TX (not Atlanta, GA) in the easterrn portion of the Lone Star state.
Of the 19 players who inked on national signing day, seven hail from Texas and another from Oklahoma. Getting this done takes meticulous planning and execution.
Coaching staffs better have very solid relationships out of state with any hopes of accomplishing these goals. Everyone close to Mizzou knows the success of the Tigers now hinges on continued Texas recruiting. The likes of Striker Shulak, Chase Daniel, Will Ebner, Henry Josey, Sean Witherspoon and others have elevated the program.
To belly up to the big boys, the Tiger coaches have taken their road show into Florida, Georgia, and other southeastern states.
If a college team wants a five-star athlete, they’d better have the radar gun aimed on youngsters by the seventh through ninth grade. That’s no small challenge identifying all that talent at such a tender age.
That’s what got them Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s top receiving prospect from Hillcrest High in Springfield, MO. Beckham was in the Tigers camping program during the summer of his freshman year.
The meeting at the Ed Jones Center gave coaches a moment to bask in the glory of their successes, and to spin some laughable and interesting yarns.
For one, they signed Maty Mauk, quarterback out of Kenton, Ohio, a righty who set four prep high school passing records. Mauk drove from Kenton, Ohio some 540 miles just to be in on the recruiting weekend of Green-Beckham.
Want to know how good a prospect is? Just check the list of schools who got the runner up prize.
Sean Culkin, prized 6-foot-5, 226 pound tight end out of Largo, FL turned back Miami, Florida State and Pittsburgh. Local Michael Scherer of MICDS spurned Stanford for Mizzou. DGB broke the hearts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama to become a Tiger. Parkway North’s Donavin Newsom said adios to Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas.
Darius White, receiver from Fort Worth, TX was the Texas Player of the Year and transferred from the Texas Longhorns to Mizzou.
No rest for the weary. Pinkel and staff are out right now recruiting the class of 2013. The meet and greet in Des Peres with the loyalists was another roaring success.