COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Former Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel and former wide receiver L'Damian Washington held a charity event on Monday morning at The Crossing Church.
Pinkel and Washington put on their Santa Claus hats and handed out presents to local kids from Coyote Hill Christian Children's Home. The two surprised each child with a brand new pair of shoes.
"I feel like I'm doing something significant." Pinkel said. "We're really trying to reach out to help kids and our foundation is really going well."
This event was a part of the GP M.A.D.E. Foundation - which strives to help local kids facing different challenges.
"I think it's wonderful just seeing the smiles on these kids' faces," Washington said. "I think it always just does good for everybody because the kids are happy. Giving back makes everyone's heart full. It's just a wonderful event."
We also spoke with Pinkel and Washington about the recent firing of Barry Odom. Pinkel said he spoke to Odom on Saturday.
"It's a real tough business. It's brutal sometimes," Pinkel said. "Coach Odom did a good job. He will get back on his feet and be very, very successful. Now, Mizzou has to go out and try to find the right guy to go run the program."
Washington said he was a little bit surprised to see Odom fired.
"Honestly, I thought he deserved at least one more year. Coach Odom recruited me and brought me to Columbia, Missouri, so I'll always have a heart for him and his kids," Washington said. "He'll land on his feet, no doubt about that. I wish him nothing but the best - him and his family."
Pinkel was asked if his nephew, Alex Grinch, is a candidate for the opening. Grinch is currently the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
"He's got a big game this week. He had a big game last week," Pinkel joked. "His mother is my sister, so I'll probably talk to her."
On a different note - Pinkel's last quarterback, Drew Lock, won his first career start in the NFL on Sunday. Pinkel's eyes lit up when asked what it was like to watch the former MU quarterback play for the Broncos.
"It's awesome. All the guys. It's neat to see all of those guys be successful, and he's worked really hard," Pinkel said. "They (Broncos) are in a very difficult situation right now going on in Denver and for him to come in and play his part - the way that game ended and everything else - I'm just very, very happy for him."