Mizzou fires head football coach Barry Odom

(KMOX) -- Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, one day after the team finished the season 6-6 with a win at Arkansas.

Odom, who spent four seasons as the head coach as his alma mater, was relieved of his duties by Jim Sterk, the school's athletics director.

"I want to thank Coach Odom for his contributions to our program," Sterk said in a statement. "He and his staff have worked diligently during the past four years."

 "Coach Odom has represented our program with integrity and dedicated himself to developing our student-athletes on and off the football field for which we are grateful. We wish the very best for him and his family in their future endeavors."

Odom went 25-25 as head coach at Mizzou. He returned to the school in 2016, hired from Memphis (where he served as defensive coordinator) to guide the football program where he spent 18 years as a player, fundraiser, assistant coach and defensive coordinator. He made two bowl trips (in 2017 and 2018). But 2019, after starting 5-1, saw the Tigers lose five straight games before the season-ending win in Little Rock.

"As a program, we had tremendous momentum coming into the 2019 season with the opening of the new south end zone facility as well as other strategic investments in our football program," Sterk said. "However, we lost a great deal of that energy during the last half of the season. This decision was difficult to make but was necessary."

Up until its final game, Missouri played the football season not knowing the final ruling from the NCAA on an appeal of sanctions related to the actions of a former tutor. The NCAA announced before the Arkansas game that the sanctions would be upheld.

It turned out to be Odom's last game.

"Mizzou enjoys a winning football tradition and has the necessary resources and commitment to compete at the highest level," Sterk said. "We strive to achieve excellence, and we expect to compete for Southeastern Conference titles, consistently play in the postseason and represent Mizzou the right way on and off the field.

"A national search is underway and confidentiality during the process is critical. Thus, I will have no further public comments regarding the search process until the announcement of our next head football coach is made."

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