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At least for now, Gary Pinkel says he’d pass on ‘another’ Big Ten opportunity

In January, it was reported that Michigan had reached out to Gary Pinkel about their head coaching vacancy. After initially agreeing to sit down with the school, and after what was described as some soul-searching, Pinkel’s agent told the Columbia Tribune that “Gary chose not to interview.”

Nearly five months later, Pinkel’s getting ahead of the speculation connecting him to another potential big-name opening in the Big Ten.

In the immediate aftermath of Jim Tressel‘s resignation, and given his Ohio roots, Pinkel’s name was one of the many mentioned as potential candidates to become The Vest’s permanent replacement at Ohio State. Speaking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the midst of a football camp Wednesday, Pinkel reiterated his commitment to the Missouri football program.

“There’s 5,000 names probably up for that,” Pinkel said. “I grew up in Ohio and I have great respect for Jim Tressel, too. It’s very unfortunate what happened and how everything came down.

“I’m the head football coach at the University of Missouri and I’m committed to trying to continue to build the program and make it better and better. And that’s what I intend to do.”

Of course, saying that when there’s no offer on the table is one thing. It could be another matter entirely if the opportunity were to be placed in front of him. Pinkel had an answer for that part of the equation as well.

“I would suggest that that’s what I would say,” Pinkel said when asked by the paper what he would do if Ohio State came offering.

We’re guessing that, when it’s all said and done, Pinkel won’t even be afforded the opportunity to say “yea” or “nay”, if for nothing more than a 60-year-old head coach -- which Pinkel would be before the start of the 2012 season -- is not the direction the football program is likely to head at this point in time.