KANSAS CITY — The top official at the University of Missouri said Friday it is too early to talk about firing football coach Barry Odom, who has led the Tigers to a disappointing 1-3 record to start his second season.
Since an opening-day victory over Missouri State, Odom’s team has scored just 30 points while allowing opponents to score 117. After the disappointing loss Saturday to Auburn, Odom gave what has been almost universally described in the media as a long-winded rant defending his team and coaching methods.
“I want you to get one thing real straight: I’m going to win here, and that’s going to happen,” Odom said. “We will win. This is a turnaround, any way you slice it or dice it or want to look at it. This is a turnaround process, and, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I’m built for this because I’ve been in a whole heck of a lot of them my entire life.”
On Friday, the Board of Curators spent several hours on detailed discussions of the university’s marketing and branding efforts, including the work consulting firm 160over90 will do under a $1.3 million contract. At a news conference after the meeting, MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was asked about Odom’s future.
Sports are the most visible thing the university does, and no other effort can bring the school three hours of exposure on national television.
“It is incredibly important” for marketing and branding, Cartwright said. “You are absolutely right. We are on TV for three hours whenever the games are on, and the reach that we have is important to the institution. We want to win. We want to be that institution that is a winner. We are a winning institution.”
However, that doesn’t mean it is time to change coaches, he said.
“To truly be exceptional at something, you have to invest the time and effort,” Cartwright said. “To make changes that are necessary and to change culture, to change what is happening in any organization, or in this case a team, takes time. I think we need have to have patience to see where things are, and then we’ll make a decision when we think the time is right to make that decision. But it is too early right now.”
Exactly when would be the right time is uncertain.
"There’s a lot left of this particular football season," said Maurice Graham, chairman of the curators.