Even though Gary Pinkel may have the most coaching wins in Mizzou football history according to the 2016 media guide with 118 and Don Faurot might have the longest overall coaching tenure at 19 years, Dan Devine's .704 winning percentage during his 13 years atop the program makes him truly elite.
While it's true the University of Missouri has had some noteworthy coaches over the years, most of those individuals were known for what they accomplished elsewhere. This includes Larry Smith, who went 33-46-1 with the Tigers from 1994-00. This came after serving tours of duty at the University of Southern California from 1987-92, the Uniiversity of Arizona from 1980-86 and Tulane University from 1976-79 accroding to wikipedia.com.
Woody Widenhofer also spent a forgetable four years in Columbia from 1985-88 and went 12-31-1. This includes a regretable 1-10 showing in 1985 in Widenhofer's first year in town that was highlighted on Nov. 2 at Iowa State by a 28-27 win.
But, just like Gary Pinkel was a program pillar for Mizzou from 2001-'15 with a .618 winning percentage and just 73 losses, Devine did the exact same thing for this program and then some from 1958-'70 by leading his teams to an overall record of 93-37-7. One of the programs big early moments under Devine came in 1960 when the Tigers went 11-0 to win the Big Eight Championship and finish ranked fourth in the nation by defeating fifth-ranked Navy 21-14 on Jan. 2, 1961.
The only other time one of Devine's teams came close to having that kind of a finish was in 1969 when Mizzou came in at 9-2 overall and was the Big Eight Co-Champion. The big difference that year was the Tigers ended up ranked sixth after losing 10-3 to second-ranked Penn-State on Jan. 1, 1970.
Pinkel, in contrast, won back-to-back Big 12 North Championships in 2007 and '08 and a Big 12 North Co-Championship in 2010. When people talk about Tigers football in the modern era, one of the games they harken back to is the 38-7 win over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 2008 that left the team ranked fourth by the Associated Press and fifth by USA Today in the season ending polls. That year the team ended with a record of 12-2 overall.
Another program-defining win for Pinkel came on Dec. 30, 2008, in the Alamo Bowl when Mizzou went to overtime with Northwestern before finally coming out on top 30-23. With this victory the team found itself ranked 19th by the AP and 16th by USA Today to end the year with an overall record of 10-4.
When the Tigers then became part of the Southeastern Conference, Eastern Division, once again Pinkel claimed back-to-back league titles in 2013 and '14, this time winning a shootout over Oklahoma State 41-31 on Jan. 3, 2014, in the AT and T Cotton Bowl to end up ranked fifth in both polls. That season ended the season at 12-2 overall.
So, that begs the question, who is the greatest University of Missouri Football coach of All Time? Is it Devine? Or is it Pinkel? Don Faurot has over 100 career victories, a .558 career win percentage and his case has barely been made. And the discussion continues...