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Gary Pinkel talks about reasons for stepping down

Gary Pinkel spoke publicly during a news conference Monday, just three days after announcing he would step down as the Mizzou head football coach.

MU Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades, introduced Pinkel, thanking him for welcoming him into the community. Rhoades said Saturday’s win was a perfect reflection of Pinkel’s lasting legacy at Mizzou.

Pinkel said one of his top responsibilities is helping develop young men, aside from coaching duties. Pinkel said he’s been blessed with good health most of his life, but his condition requires management for the rest of his life.

On Friday, Pinkel revealed he was diagnosed back in May with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer. He plans to resign as head coach at the end of the 2015 season.

Pinkel told Rhoades on Wednesday about his plan to leave, due to the large time commitment required for the job. Pinkel said he believed his players and coaches had to be the first to know. Pinkel says MU has its problems like any other university, but believes constant communication improves the situation.

At one point, Pinkel choked up when talking about how much he will miss interacting with his players. When someone asked him if he would rather die on a football field or die on a beach, he said he wanted to die on a beach.

Pinkel confirmed a select group of family and friends were the only people who originally knew about his diagnosis in May. He got early treatment in May and June, but feels fine today.

Monday’s news conference started at 10:30 a.m. at Mizzou Arena. ABC 17 News is posting updates here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. We will also recap the news conference on ABC 17 News, starting at noon.

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