New Missouri NCAA college football coach Barry Odom holds up a uniform at his introductory press conference Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
L.G. Patterson
December 04, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) The second time Barry Odom interviewed for the Missouri coaching job was supposed to be a rough ride to see how he'd react.

''He wasn't lying when he said they put me through the wringer,'' Odom said Friday at his introductory news conference. ''I was ready. Let's make the decision, let's go to work.''

Athletic director Mack Rhoades took it as a plus when Odom showed some exasperation.

''We intentionally tried to wear him out,'' Rhoades said. ''He got a little ticked off, which I liked. Just his fight and that competitive nature, those are things that I think are a few of the qualities a head coach needs.''

Odom learned during the process that he needs to be a little more patient. He's ready to roll up his sleeves and step into the big shoes left by Gary Pinkel, who resigned after the season while battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Pinkel sat in the third row for the introductory news conference alongside his wife, Missy, in direct view of the podium. The set-up was identical to that used for Pinkel's farewell address in mid-November.

''This is about hiring the best guy, and I believe in Barry Odom,'' Pinkel said. ''I was very happy when I found out.''

In fact, Pinkel said he was nearly moved to tears watching a video of players mobbing Odom after the announcement. Many players had said they wanted Odom to get the job.

''It wouldn't be very good if I walk in and nobody jumps up,'' Odom said. ''They know what I bring to the table every day.''

The school fight song played as Odom entered the arena with his wife and three children. Odom called the job ''this wonderful, wonderful opportunity.''

''I do have tremendous shoes to fill,'' Odom said to a crowd of about 200 that included fellow coaches, former players and fans. ''I want you to be very proud of the product we put on the field.''

Rhoades said he targeted five candidates and that there was ''great interest'' in the job, but wouldn't say how many were interviewed. Odom was offered the job on Wednesday and agreed to a five-year deal a day later.

''It was detailed, it was fast-paced, it was rigorous,'' Rhoades said. ''We had other options. Coach Odom had other options.''

The first interview was at Rhoades' house and lasted about four hours. Rhoades came away thinking he had his man. After the second time through, he was certain of it..

''He is the right person, this is the right time, this is the perfect fit to lead our program to that next level,'' the AD said.

Missouri had a letdown season, finishing 5-7 after winning consecutive SEC East championships in 2013-14. Defense stood out, though, ranked ninth in the nation. Odom will be in charge of assembling staff and he said no decisions have been made about Pinkel's aides. For now, he said there's also an urgency to recruit.

Odom and men's basketball coach Kim Anderson are both former Missouri players, Odom a former linebacker and captain of two bowl teams under coach Larry Smith and Anderson a star forward under coach Norm Stewart.

''I think that's pretty neat,'' Anderson said. ''I don't know how many power five schools or major conference schools have that. I think it says something about our institution.''

Pinkel said he recognized coaching potential in Odom when he first hired him as a graduate assistant in 2003, four years after Odom concluded his playing career. Missouri is 81-47 with Odom as part of the staff.

''He's remarkably competitive,'' Pinkel said. ''I just think he's got all the intangibles it takes. He loves his players, and they know he loves them.''

Odom also had been considered for the vacant spot at Memphis that went to Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell. Others considered for the position included Cal's Sonny Dykes, Houston's Tom Herman and Toledo's Matt Campbell, who took the Iowa State job.

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