After Saturday’s game at Kentucky, Missouri will have played almost half of its schedule. If the Tigers make a turn-around, should Barry Odom get another year?
As fans, we’ve all called for a coach’s job. Heck, I’ve yelled those words many times at the TV, within the first two games of the regular season, and my team was up. Coaches and players come and go, but the fanbase will always stay.
This fall will be my first time coaching a sport – basketball, to be exact. I have never felt the pressure that a coach experiences when a team plays poorly, or if the inherited team lost talent.
In Odom’s first season as head coach, the Tigers finished the year with a 4-8 record. Many of us, at some point, wanted him gone. However, the team finished the season fairly strong, with wins over Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
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During the offseason, much ado was made by Odom about things getting fixed, the offense performing better, and the defense finding its identity, but after the Tigers’ telling performance against Missouri State, many of us were skeptical, at best.
Missouri hasn’t won a game since its first week. The Tigers are 0-2 in conference play, and by the time Mizzou had lost to Purdue, many Tigers fans were calling for Odom’s dismissal.
This week will serve as the demarcation point of Odom’s stint as Missouri’s head coach. A win, while improbable, would be best.
I’m willing to concede a close (hard-fought) loss will keep Athletic Director Jim Sterk’s interest in Odom’s future.
Neither a win nor a close loss guarantee the safety of Odom’s future, but it will carry more weight than similar performances of the last three games the Tigers appeared in.
What is the record that Odom’s team has to obtain, in order for the beleaguered coach to continue into a third year as Missouri’s head man? At a minimum, if his team matches last year’s record, I would say it’s time for a change.
If the Tigers improve by one game, then I think Odom will get an ultimatum, but his leash will be uncomfortably short next year. If the Tigers accomplish the unlikely and make a bowl game, then Odom should have no problem keeping his job next year.
Ironically, the bye week couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for Missouri, while destiny looms for Odom, in less than 24 hours in Lexington, KY.