This past Sunday, Robin Pingeton earned her 500th career victory when the Tigers downed Vanderbilt 69-46. It was a big cause for celebration as the Tigers head toward their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, an accomplishment only achieved once in the program’s history — Joann Rutherford led the Tigers to five straight appearances from 1981-1986.
After the game, ABC 17’s Andrew Kauffman had the team’s play-by-play man, Brad Tregnago, on his show, and they debated a question that doesn’t usually get talked about.
Interesting debate: Mike Alden hired a lot of great coaches at #Mizzou (Gary Pinkel, Brian Smith, etc..), but is Robin Pingeton his best hire? @BradTregnago and I discuss tonight on #SportsZone— Andrew Kauffman (@AndrewABC17) February 11, 2019
: 9:30 on Fox 22
: 10:30 on ABC 17 pic.twitter.com/5jGVseSxxu
That tweet — and the victory — triggered some conversation around the Mizzou universe as to who was Alden’s best hire during his time as athletic director. We decided to get in on the action and ask you in the return of our weekly poll!
Editor’s Note: A lot of y’all pointed out that Brian Smith was not hired by Mike Alden. If I — Josh — had dug back into our archives, I would’ve found that Gene McArtor, acting AD between Joe Castiglione and Alden was the one who technically hired him. Thanks for correcting me, and sorry for the mistake.
Almost unanimous winners are always hard to write about, but it’s almost impossible to argue with this choice. Pinkel was not only instrumental in resurrecting the football program, but he was also responsible for putting it on the map in a bigger way. If Pinkel doesn’t get Mizzou to the heights of the 2007-2011 stretch, the school is likely still in the Big 12. He never took the Tigers to the mountaintop, but he got them a lot closer, and there’s no debating that.
I will, however, make a small case for Robin Pingeton (even though I, personally, voted for Pinkel. Pingeton took over for a non-revenue program that was five years removed from its last NCAA Tournament appearance, had gone 52-70 in that stretch and had only reached four tournaments in 20 years. Building a program from that kind of foundation isn’t impossible, but it requires a lot of hard work.
Pingeton, however, got things turned around in short order. After two losing seasons, Pingeton took the Tigers to three straight WNIT’s and is currently in line to make the program’s fourth straight NCAA appearance. She’s only one appearance away from tying Joann Rutherford’s record of five straight appearances, and with a monster recruiting class next year, it’s not out of the question.
Pingeton has transformed the Tigers from an also-ran into a well-oiled machine, regularly bringing in four and five-star recruits and working with some of the most talented rosters the program has ever seen. Her legacy is also tied with Sophie Cunningham’s, who is undoubtedly the best player in the program’s history. They have a chance to take things to new heights this year by making a deep March run.
So, no, Pingeton isn’t on the level of Pinkel, but I’d argue she has plenty of time to prove herself. The Tigers are built to be a top-tier SEC team for the long run, and Pingeton is responsible.
On to the responses!
Pinkel and not even close. All of mizzou would still be languishing in Big 12 without him.— Butt Ralph (@commonzentz) February 12, 2019
I mean all good hires even MA (not Alden's fault he left). RP and BS have had great success but Gary Pinkel put Mizzou football back on the map in a big way. Never got the championships but changed the national view of the program during his tenure.— ZackSTL (@zackstl) February 12, 2019
We touched on this above, but yes, Pinkel did change the perspective of Missouri football during his tenure. Fans are used to seeing successful Tiger teams, and that’s because Pinkel established a floor of expectations that was arguably higher than ever.
Not a contest between MIZZOU GREATS! They are all Tigers and are great in their own way!— Evelyn Kinkade (@EEKinkade) February 12, 2019
Sports are different, styles are different but all are Tiger Great. #MIZ
Cheers to the team player.
How about you? Who do you think was Mike Alden’s best hire as Missouri’s athletic director? Make your choice and comment below with your thoughts. We’ve excluded Brian Smith from this poll, but feel free to sing his praises anyway.
Who was Mike Alden’s best hire as Missouri’s athletic director?
This poll is closed