COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Come HOME Tour Caravan and Mizzou Athletics has spent the past few weeks traveling with administration, coaches and players to unify Tiger nation and this weekend they stayed in Columbia.
Fans gathering outside the Hearnes Center Saturday afternoon to talk with Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois, Head Football Coach Eli Drinkwitz, Head Men's Basketball Coach Dennis Gates, Head Women's Basketball Coach Dennis Gates, University President Mun Choi and more.
ABC 17 got to chance to catch up with coaches at the event about what it's been like traveling to different parts of the state so far.
"Norm Stewart told me that in order for us to win, we got to win with them. We got to win within the 100 mile-radius for our fans. It's important for us to make sure that we're accessible. Obviously, I live in this community and my girls live in this community and I'm invested in this community and I want our community to invest in us in our university," Drinkwitz said.
This was also Gates' first time going on the tour as he started at Mizzou a few months back. He said it's important to get out and be able to meet fans in person. "It's important to be real, not just on TV or social media. Whenever I can shake your hand or have a conversation, I think it's good in a lot of ways," Gates said.
ABC 17 also spoke with the coahes about the offseason and what they're working on for next season.
Drinkwitz reflected on the NFL draft that wrapped up Saturday saying that recruiting is a big part of this time of year.
"We got to develop those players and we've got to continue to recruit whether it's through transfer portal, whether it's high school players, the best players in this state needed to stay here. I saw a lot of kids from this state get drafted from other universities and so it's my challenge to make sure that's not the continuation moving forward," Drinkwitz said.
Gates says he is working to get his new team to gel together in the off-season and transfer his values and beliefs into every player.
"We're going to build our program on eight core values: friendship, love, accountability, trust, discipline, selflessness, enthusiasm and toughness. Our young men are going to give their very best and all that they do. There's going to be expectation that we have and uphold, but also we're going to be able to play our style of basketball. We're going to have some pressure offense with pressure defense, and I truly believe we have the right young man to help us do that," Gates said.
Pingeton has also had some movement in her program and said there may be some announcements coming to her team soon.
Pingeton said her search for an assistant coach is complete. "We talked to quite a few people and we're really excited. We should be having an announcement here soon but I feel like we found a phenomenal fit somebody that's had great experience playing in the WNBA and played professionally," Pingeton said.
She also says with the loss of a player like Aijha Blackwell she is looking for the rest of her team to step up.
"I'm really excited about our incoming freshmen and then like I said, I think we'll add a couple out of that portal. So you know, everyone's going to have to step up for sure," Pingeton said.
The tour will continue throughout the summer with the next stop being to Dallas on Wednesday.
Full interviews can be found in the player above.