COLUMBIA, Mo. — Football fans in the Show Me State met 36-year-old Eliah Drinkwitz Tuesday, introduced as the University of Missouri’s new football coach.
“This opportunity was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Drinkwitz said at the event on Dec. 10.
School leaders believe he is the right coach at the right time for the Tigers. It’s understandable, considering that he just coached Appalachian State University to a Sun Belt Conference Championship.
The Mountaineers went 12-1 this season, finishing ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and upsetting both North Carolina and South Carolina.
Drinkwitz said he would serve as offensive coordinator and play caller as he had at App State.
“Our style of play on offense is a pro-tempo style,” Drinkwitz said. “We are going to base it out of the no huddle. We will be quarterback driven. Dominant downhill run game, vertical pass game. We will execute well under pressure.”
He also said special teams would be the heart of his football team, telling fans his players will tackle well and create turnovers.
Former coach Gary Pinkel, who met Drinkwitz 10 years ago while he was a high school coach visiting with a recruit, said he’s impressed by the energy the 36-year-old brings to the job.
“You can choose to have the bar low at 6 or 7 [wins],” Pinkel said. “I don’t want it down there. Missouri fans don’t want it down there. Let’s go for it. We know we can do it. Let’s keep the bar where it should be and work hard to get there”.
Both Drinkwitz and university leaders talked about winning the right way, with respect and integrity.
“I think he has a great passion for what he does. A leader of men and driven for success,” Jim Sterk, Missouri’s athletic director, said.
Drinkwitz recognizes that Mizzou faces some challenges recruiting because NCAA probation has limited the school’s scholarships.
He said the team will grow by working each day to be better than it was the day before.