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Who will Missouri head coach Barry Odom hire for his coaching staff?

Now that Missouri's head coaching search is over, it's time to the next best part of coaching searches: assistant coaching candidates! As new information quickly emerges, we will update this post.

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE (12/4): With news that almost no Gary Pinkel assistant return, some rearranging was in order.



Safeties coach Ryan Walters, 29, who joined the Missouri staff with Odom last year, is a coach one would expect to be retained. Mizzou's defense was one of the best in the nation last year and the development of safeties Anthony Sherrils,Ian Simon and others was a primary reason why. Walters also is another Texas-based recruiter, a trait Odom might prefer.

From the Rumor Mill

A lot of people have mentioned Utah State offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as Odom's first-choice offensive coordinator. Heupel had a mixed record as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator from 2011-14, but the Sooners still ranked in the Off. S&P+ top 15 three times in four years in Norman.


It is important to remember that Odom heavily values coaches who can recruit as well as coach when trying to evaluate potential candidates.

Ricky Hunley, 54, Defensive line coach at the University of Memphis. A 20 year veteran of the coaching world and a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is in his second year as the University of Memphis' defensive line coach and was mentioned as having a significant influence on Odom when he was an assistant coach at Missouri.

Harry Hiestand, 57, Offensive Line coach at Notre Dame. Hiestand was an offensive line coach at the University of Missouri from 1994-1996 and was also described as having a strong influence on Odom,

"Harry was a stickler for repeating the same fundamental position drills over and over again," Odom said.

Twitter clues

If you're reading tea leaves, we should note that Odom recently followed the following assistant coaches on Twitter:

Brick Haley, 49, Defensive line coach at the University of Texas. Haley has been a defensive line coach at LSU and Mississippi State and has experience in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Previously, Haley worked for six seasons (2009-14) at LSU, coaching nine defensive linemen selected in the NFL Draft, including a pair of first-round picks in Michael Brockers and Barkevious Mingo. LSU's streak of years with at least one defensive lineman picked in the draft is 11. If there's a program who's defensive line success Mizzou wants to emulate, it is LSU.

Tosh Lupoi, 33, Linebackers coach at the University of Alabama. Lupoi was previously a defensive analyst for the Tide and one of their star recruiters. Before landing in Tuscaloosa, he was Steve Sarkisian's ace recruiter at Washington. (It should be noted that he has gotten attention from the NCAA for some of his methods, though he hasn't received any punishment.)

Stealing Lupoi from Nick Saban seems like a major coup but, as our friends over at Roll Bama Roll note, he would be a good fit for what Odom might want to run:

Lupoi is a particularly good fit for the current Tide defensive scheme, as he has worked with the Tide's 3-4 basic alignment in prior stops at Cal and Washington.

Darin Hinshaw, 43, Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati and prior to that at the University of Tennessee where his players have set several school records. Hinshaw is from the Florida area and was a record setting quarterback himself at UCF. His ties to Florida and Tennessee also allow him access to typically fertile recruiting grounds.

Guys with Mizzou ties

Dave Christensen, 54, Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator at Texas A&M. Yes, as the head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys he famously went off on Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, calling him a "Fly Boy" among other things, but he has deep ties to Pinkel's system having been an assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001-08 and thus would be familiar with Barry Odom.

AJ Ofodile, 42, head coach of Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri. Ofodile was Barry Odom's offensive coordinator at Rock Bridge for the two years he was the Bruin's head coach and assumed the role when Odom became an Administrative GA in 2003. Ofodile's son, Alex, recently graduated from high school and is now a WR/TE at Oregon so it's possible he's ready to move up the coaching ranks. Ofodile is very familiar with the Missouri recruiting scene and would make a strong addition to the staff.

David Yost, 45, Inside wide receivers coach for the Washington State Cougars. Notable for having coached three Mizzou quarterbacks into the NFL and also for being the lead recruiter on Dorial Green-Beckham, Yost is a name many fans are very familiar with. Dennis Dodd wrote about Yost's departure from Mizzou:

"I'd just gotten tired," Yost said in his first interview since stepping down. "I didn't want to do it anymore."

Too much time in the office, too much time away from his family, too many hats. Yost finished 2012, Mizzou's first season in the SEC, wearing four of them: assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator, quarterbacks coach and OC. Those close to him mentioned Yost looked thinner. There were bags under his eyes.

The youthful look that was more surfer than coach was fading. It apparently had nothing to do with a disappointing 5-7 debut in the SEC. It had everything to do with a lifestyle change.

"I always loved my job, looked forward to it," Yost said. "It got to a point where I didn't love my job."

Yost is evidently back in a place where he enjoys his job again but I don't think the move makes sense for him given his departure.

Pat Ivey, 42(?) Associate AD, Athletic Performance. Ivey, who played for the University of Missouri from 1993-1995, has been one of the key reasons Mizzou athletics has been able to develop players so successfully. In this Dave Matter article he's described as "one of the most indispensable members of Pinkel's staff". He was named the National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year in 2013 and is close friends with Odom and Ofodile. He conditioning programs and training regimes are the reason Mizzou develops underrated athletes into SEC and NFL caliber prospects.

Former NFL DT Justin Smith and Odom played together in college but there's no saying that the man who made around $80 million playing wants to coach and deal with recruiting.

Guys with Odom ties

Brian Odom, 35, Defensive quality control at Washington State University. The younger Odom came to the Cougars after three years a the University of Houston where he was Co-Director of Sports Performance. I'm told that when Mack Rhoades hired Herman he wanted to retain Brian but the first year coach wanted to bring in all his own staff. I wouldn't be surprised to see the brothers team up at Missouri in some capacity.

UPDATE: Littrell will become the head coach of North Texas, per Brett McMurphy. Seth Littrell, North Carolina Assistant Head Coach for Offense/Tight Ends. Littrell is a candidate to become the head coach at North Texas but if that doesn't work he and Odom are familiar enough from their days playing high school football in Oklahoma and then again when both were recruiting in the Big 12. It's an outside shot but he'd make for a solid offensive coordinator to pair with Odom's defensive background.



Pinkel assistants (defense)

Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski has to be considered a priority one candidate. Kuligowski has coached nine Tigers to first-team all-conference honors, eight in the last eight seasons – Lorenzo Williams (2007), Ziggy Hood (2008), Aldon Smith (2010), Dominique Hamilton (2011), Sheldon Richardson (2012), Michael Sam and Kony Ealy in 2013, and Shane Ray (2014). From Attiyah Ellison in 2003 to Shane Ray in 2014, Kuligowski has helped 12 defensive lineman get selected in the NFL draft, six in the first two rounds.

Kuligowski gives Mizzou its defensive identity, as described best by second-round draft pick Markus Golden

"A lot of people try to call us that, But we call it ‘D-line Zou.’ I say that because we look at it as we’re Tigers, and we say we’re a bunch of animals, a bunch of animals on that defensive line, a bunch of guys that just play hard and physical."

Cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford, who has helped developed EJ Gaines, Kevin Rutland and most recently Aarion Penton, could also be considered for Odom's staff, particularly due to the inroads he's made into St. Louis area recruiting.

Pinkel assistants (offense)

Associate head coach and quarterbacks coach Andy Hill, who was a wide receivers coach before Gary Pinkel came to Mizzou, could potentially remain with the current staff if he doesn't land the Montana State head coaching gig. His close relationship with Kansas City area recruiting and current quarterback Drew Lock would make him a valuable asset to Odom's staff.

Hill's 19 years overall at Mizzou give him deep ties and understanding to how things are run in Columbia, which could go a long way toward establishing some continuity with the players and staff alike. If he were to stay, there might be some debate as to whether he should continue in his current role with the quarterbacks or move back to wide receivers, which he coached from 2001 to 2012.

After Hill, the personnel decisions become much more difficult

Evan Boehm voiced his opinions on retaining certain coaching staff:

Despite having five seniors, AJ Ricker's offensive line struggled during 2015 and for stretches of 2014. Offensive coordinator Josh Henson steered a championship caliber offense in 2013, but Mizzou's offense regressed significantly in 2014 before collapsing to historic levels in 2015.

It may be that the well is poisoned with both coaches and the decision for them to part ways is mutual. Retaining Ricker or Henson would be a fairly unpopular decision among fans, but ultimately it is up to Odom.


This is just an initial list and by no means comprehensive. Odom is very well connected in coaching circles and it wouldn't surprise me if the final staff was a bunch of unknowns (to Missouri fans at least). My impression is this will be Odom's first break from the "Pinkel way", his pool of assistant coaches will be varied and likely more tied to their ability to recruit and his familiarity with them than their connection to Missouri.

In the coming days and weeks as we learn more about the staff new head coach Barry Odom assembles we'll endeavor to bring you the prompt and insightful updates.