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Sunday, December 23, 2007
Updated: December 26, 9:42 AM ET
Pinkel rewarded with $550,000 annual raise, 1-year extension

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Gary Pinkel helped lead long-suffering Missouri into college football's elite ranks this year. Now he has the contract to match that lofty perch.

On Sunday, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden announced that Pinkel will receive a $550,000 annual raise and a one-year contract extension. That gives Pinkel a guaranteed $1.85 million a year.

The new five-year deal extends Pinkel's contract through 2012 and marks the second season in a row he earned a pay raise. Late last season, Pinkel was given a $225,000 raise and three-year extension.

The announcement comes as Missouri (11-2) prepares to face Arkansas (No. 25 AP) (8-4) in the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Pinkel, 55, is in his seventh season at Missouri (No. 6 BCS, No. 7 AP), which won the most regular season games in school history and was briefly ranked No. 1 in both the AP and BCS standings before losing the Big 12 Conference title game to Oklahoma in early December.

"Winning the Big 12 North title this season was the first championship of any kind in football in nearly 40 years here," Alden said. "We want to recognize that achievement and put our head coach in a recruiting position to capitalize on this momentum."

Pinkel has a career record of 48-37 at Missouri and 121-74-3 in 17 seasons overall. The pay raise makes him the third-highest-paid head coach in the Big 12 Conference, behind only Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Mack Brown of Texas, both of whom make in excess of $2.6 million annually.

Pinkel's nine assistants and three other athletic administrators involved with Missouri football will earn a collective $300,000 pay raise, bringing their combined salaries to just over $2 million.

The coach will also be able to offer his offensive and defensive coordinators two-year deals, a deviation from the one-year contracts that are the norm for college football assistants.

Alden said that he had not spoken to other schools or headhunters seeking to interview Pinkel, whose name was linked to the Michigan vacancy later filled by Rich Rodriguez.

"People believe nationally that Coach Pinkel really likes Missouri," Alden said. "This is a place he wants to be."

The raise elevates Pinkel's salary to 17th place among Division I football coaches, according to figures provided by the university.