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Mizzou 25: Coaches Edition

That's right, it's time for another edition of Mizzou 25!  This one will focus on the best, most likable, most influential coaches Mizzou's seen in the last 25 years!

The bracket for the Mizzou 25 Coaches Edition will be much more straight-forward than that of the players' tournament.  This will be a 16-man (and woman) tournament with normal seeding.  However, we need your help with that part.  Below are the 16 participants, listed alphabetically.  After the jump you can read short bios on each coach.  Rank these coaches as you see fit, and we will tally the results to determine the overall seedings.

  1. Bryan Blitz (Soccer, 1996-present)
  1. Brian Hoffer (Swimming & Diving, 1992-present)
  1. Jake Jacobson (Gymnastics, 1979-99)
  1. Tim Jamieson (Baseball, 1995-present)
  1. Wayne & Susan Kreklow (Volleyball, 2000-present)
  1. Gene McArtor (Baseball, 1974-94)
  1. Rick McGuire (Women’s Track & Field, 1983-present; Men’s Track & Field 1988-present)
  1. Jay Miller (Softball, 1988-02)
  1. Gary Pinkel (Football, 2001-present)
  1. Joann Rutherford (Women’s Basketball, 1975-98)
  1. Brian Smith (Wrestling, 1998-present)
  1. Larry Smith (Football, 1994-00)
  1. Quin Snyder (Men’s Basketball, 1999-06)
  1. Cindy Stein (Women's Basketball, 1998-present)
  1. Norm Stewart (Men's Basketball, 1967-99)
  1. Jared & Rebecca Wilmes (Cross-Country, 2000-present)

Click 'Full Story' for short bios, then rank 'em!

Mizzou 25 Coaches Edition Participants

Bryan Blitz (Soccer, 1996-present) – The only coach in the history of Mizzou Soccer, Blitz has negotiated through a couple rough patches in building a relatively strong program.  After building a 71-53-5 record between 1998 and 2004 (which included two NCAA appearances), Blitz struggled through a 28-27-4 patch over the next three seasons before beginning a turn-around in 2007.  With an extremely young squad, Mizzou went 13-8-1 last year, winning its first NCAA tourney game since 2003 and its second ever, both under Blitz' watch.

Brian Hoffer (Swimming & Diving, 1992-present) – A three-time Conference Coach of the Year (in '93, '94, and '04), Hoffer has stood watch over a program that has grown steadily in both prowess and facilities.  Under his watch, the Mizzou women have gone 96-22-1 (an .811 win percentage) over the last decade.

Jake Jacobson (Gymnastics, 1979-99) – Known as the father of Mizzou gymnastics, Jacobson started the program from scratch in 1979 and led the Tigers to 229 regular season wins and 13 NCAA appearances.  He was twice named Conference Coach of the Year and led Mizzou to an NCAA Central Regional title in 1981 and a Big 8 Title in 1992.  He's also the father of the Cat Classic, and by the time he retired in 1999, Gymnastics was the third-highest grossing athletic program at Mizzou.

Tim Jamieson (Baseball, 1995-present) – Like Gary Pinkel, Tim Jamieson struggled a few years into his coaching tenure before righting the ship in a major way.  Just looking at his career record (441-308-2 heading into 2008) doesn't cut it.  Under Jamieson, Mizzou averaged a 36-21 record between 1996-99 before struggling at the turn of the decade.  However, they've averaged 38 wins a season since 2003 and found themselves ranked #2 in the country a few weeks into the 2008 season.

The Kreklows (Volleyball, 2000-present) – In 8 seasons since moving across town from Columbia College to Mizzou, the Kreklows have gone 169-77, qualifying for 8 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.  They inherited a program that had won 64 matches in 7 seasons and won 70 in their first three years.  They have built volleyball into one of Mizzou's most popular sports, hosting regionals in 2004 and 2005 and drawing loud, exciteable crowds throughout their tenure.

Gene McArtor (Baseball, 1974-94) – An all-conference player at Mizzou, McArtor took over for legendary John "Hi" Simmons and won 733 games and two Big 8 titles in 21 seasons.  He took Mizzou to 6 NCAA tourneys (it was harder to qualify back then) and also served as Associate A.D. during the search for Joe Ca$tiglione’s replacement in 1998.

Rick McGuire (Women’s Track & Field, 1983-present; Men’s Track & Field 1988-present) – Dr. McGuire is one of the most respected names in track & field, both in the classroom (he’s a faculty member in the MU College of Education and has headed the sports psychology program for US Track & Field for 25 years) and on the track, where he’s coached 119 All-Americans and twice been named Conference Coach of the Year.  He is an institution.

Jay Miller (Softball, 1988-02) – The coach of Mizzou’s only Big 12 champion, Miller led Mizzou to a .643 win percentage (556-309) over his fifteen seasons in black and gold.  His program caught fire in the mid-‘90s, going 242-121 from 1994-99, winning a Big 12 tournament, and qualifying once for the College World Series.

Gary Pinkel (Football, 2001-present) – Gary Pinkel has survived all the peaks and valleys a coach can see and has come out the better for it.  After three seasons of steady progress, the bottom fell out for Mizzou in 2004, and a 5-6 season left Pinkel's tenure on the rocks.  Since then, Mizzou has gone from 7 to 8 to 12 wins, earning its first #1 ranking in 47 years late in 2007.  Mizzou will start the 2008 season in the Top 10, and Pinkel's slow-but-steady grind toward success has won over Mizzou fans, to say the least.

Joann Rutherford (Women’s Basketball, 1975-98) – The female Norm Stewart and the Mother of Mizzou Basketball (she took over during the Mizzou women's second season in existence), Rutherford prowled the sidelines for 23 seasons at Mizzou, winning 422 games and amassing a .618 win percentage.  She won 20+ games for 8 straight seasons in the 1980s, coached the two greatest Tiger ladies of all-time (Renee Kelly and Joni Davis), and reached the NCAA Tournament six times.

Brian Smith (Wrestling, 1998-present) – A decade ago, Smith took over a moribund wrestling program and set out to build a national power, slowly but surely.  He has succeeded, producing 8 All-Americans, coaching Mizzou 25 Champion Ben Askren to two national titles, and, in 2007, leading Mizzou to a #1 national ranking.  In training methods and results, Mizzou Wrestling has fulfilled Brian Smith's vow of becoming a powerhouse.

Larry Smith (Football, 1994-00) – Though he only amassed a 33-46-1 record in Columbia, Smith restored pride and raised expectations for Mizzou football after the program spent a decade lost in the wilderness.  Without him and the upgrades he demanded to Mizzou's facilities, the Tigers would not be where they are today.  He was on the sidelines for some of the most memorable games in Mizzou history, including the classic OT loss to Nebraska in 1997.

Quin Snyder (Men’s Basketball, 1999-06) – As embattled a coaching figure as there has ever been in Columbia, Snyder did take the Tigers to four straight NCAA tournaments in the early ‘00s and raised the profile of the program, for both good reasons and bad.  Their 2002 Elite Eight run as a 12-seed was the highlight of the last decade of Mizzou basketball.

Cindy Stein (Women's Basketball, 1998-present) – Since taking over for Joann Rutherford, Stein has led Mizzou through a series of ups and downs, winning 160 games over 10 seasons and taking Mizzou to three NCAA tournaments.  In 2001, Stein led Mizzou to its first Sweet 16 since 1982.

Norm Stewart (Men's Basketball, 1967-99) – The face of Mizzou Athletics for three decades, Stewart was first an all-time great Mizzou athlete, getting his number retired at Mizzou for his basketball exploits and playing on Mizzou's 1954 National Championship Baseball team.  Oh yeah, and he won 634 games in 32 seasons as Tiger head coach, leading Mizzou to two Elite Eights and coaching 8 All-Americans and 29 NBA draftees along the way.  He's also the most quotable Missouri Tiger ever, spitting out Normisms faster than you can write them down.

The Wilmeses (Cross-Country, 2000-present) – In eight seasons at the helm of the Mizzou X-Country program, Jared and Rebecca Wilmes have created one of the most successful collections of student-athletes anywhere in the country.  While seeing steady success in bringing numerous teams to Regional titles and NCAA Championships, the Wilmes' teams have thrived even more in the classroom, earning more Academic All-Conference and All-American awards than any other Mizzou program.