Missouri raises possibility of Pinkel contract extension

COLUMBIA — Missouri athletic director Mike Alden addressed the likelihood coach Gary Pinkel will be sought for the Washington opening, raising the possibility of a contract extension after the season.

The fifth-ranked Tigers play No. 3 Auburn in the SEC championship game Saturday in Atlanta. Both schools are 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play.

Washington named former quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo interim coach on Wednesday for the Huskies’ upcoming bowl game after Steve Sarkisian left to take the head coaching job at USC. The 34-year-old Tuiasosopo was a star quarterback at Washington from 1997-2000.

Pinkel is 101-62 in 13 seasons at Missouri, tied with Don Faurot for most in school history. He’s under contract through 2017 with a guaranteed salary of $2.35 million.

Pinkel was a longtime assistant under Don James at Washington, serving as offensive coordinator from 1984-90. He often speaks glowingly of James, who died earlier this year.

Alden said he’s proud of the team’s success academically, too, and said he and the coach have already spoken about the future.

“Coach Pinkel has won at a very high level with discipline, integrity, dignity and compassion,” Alden said in a statement Thursday. “Gary and I have spoken about our continued efforts going forward.

“We are so pleased with Gary’s commitment to Mizzou and I look forward to working with Gary for a long time.”

The decision to elevate Tuiasosopo to the interim job does leave in question the status of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who was thought to be a potential permanent replacement following Sarkisian’s departure. Wilcox’s contract includes a $1 million buyout if he leaves for another conference school.

Washington has eight wins, its best season since 2001.

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