ST. LOUIS, MO- The University of Missouri appears to have found the man to take over the Tiger football program. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports MU will hire Appalachian State’s Eliah Drinkwitz to succeed Barry Odom, who was fired November 30 after going 25-25 over four seasons.
Despite his age and only one year under his belt as a head coach, Drinkwitz, 36, brings five years of experience as an offensive coordinator, including three seasons at the Power 5 level at North Carolina State. As Appalachian State points out on Drinkwitz’s bio , North Carolina State’s offense went from a 63rd overall FBS ranking in his first year as the OC, to 25th and then to 16th in successive seasons.
In his first head coaching position at Appalachian State, Drinkwitz guided the program to a 12-1 record, including wins at both North Carolina and South Carolina en route to a fourth straight Sun Belt Conference Championship. Appalachian State ranked 42nd in total offense nationally (Missouri was 94) in 2019.
Drinkwitz surrounded himself with an experienced staff of assistants, including former Missouri Wide Receivers coach Pat Washington and longtime defensive coordinator and former Duke head coach Ted Roof. Also on staff as running backs coach is Garrett Riley, brother of current Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Lincoln Riley. It’s unclear yet if any of them plan to join him in Columbia.
The hiring caps what has been a tumultuous search behind the scenes at MU. Reports circulated that the initial group of candidates Athletic Director Jim Sterk had informally suggested to the UM Board of Curators were shot down for lacking in buzz and excitement, an attribute Sterk cited in the decision to fire Odom.
The immediate task now is to build a staff and solidify a recruiting class in time for the early signing period starting December 18 and then the regular period in February. Drinkwitz will have roster and recruiting flexibility he won’t have this time next year, when the school will be docked as many as five scholarships as well as other restrictions connected to the NCAA penalties which were confirmed late last month as a result of an academic fraud investigation.
While Appalachian State’s natural recruiting area is in the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee, according to 247Sports, Drinkwitz’s staff has offered 2020 Cardinal Ritter quarterback Mekhi Hagens.