Missouri Team News

Gary Pinkel recalls emotions after being diagnosed with cancer

Gary Pinkel
Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

During an interview with KMIZ-TV in Columbia, Mo., this week, former Missouri coach Gary Pinkel reflected on his original cancer diagnosis, which led to his retirement at the end of the 2015 season.

“You think you’re fine and everything, then all of a sudden you have a lump in your neck and they’re going to have it looked at and then they look at you in the face two days later and say, ‘You’ve got cancer. You have a form of lymphoma.’ And it’s hard to even describe,” Pinkel told the TV station.

“… When you have cancer, you’re aware of everybody around you and you’re aware of anything that has to do with the battle against cancer. It’s remarkable what they’re doing now all around the country to help people with cancer, but you’re on the team and no matter who you see, no matter what type of cancer they have, if you find out they do, you go up to them and give them a hug and wish them the best and be very, very encouraging. That’s kind of the approach I took and a lot of the people around me also.”

In November 2015, Pinkel announced that he would retire at the end of that season because of his diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, saying he wanted to spend his remaining years with family and friends. One year later, he announced that his cancer was in remission.

Pinkel spent 15 seasons at Missouri and is the winningest coach in program history. He led the Tigers to consecutive SEC East titles in 2013-14 and finished his career with a 118-73 record with Mizzou.

RELATED: A letter to Gary Pinkel from one of his former players

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