Linebackers coach Steckel promoted

Updated: March 10, 2009, 6:19 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Dave Steckel was hired as Missouri's new defensive coordinator, only a couple of hours before the Tigers began spring practice.

Steckel will replace Matt Eberflus, who quit Pinkel's staff last month to become linebackers coach with Eric Mangini's staff with the Cleveland Browns.

Steckel, 51, has served as linebackers coach at Missouri for all eight seasons of Pinkel's coaching tenure. In four of his last five seasons, the Tigers have had an All-Big 12 linebacker.

Pinkel also hired former Missouri player Barry Odom to an assistant coaching position in charge of the Tigers' safeties. Odom has served as Pinkel's director of football operations for the last three seasons.

"I have always been a firm believer in promoting from within if you have the right people on board, and I feel very confident that we have the right people to step in and help advance our program," Pinkel said in a prepared release. "These guys are outstanding coaches who are great leaders and even better examples to our kids. They will work very hard and represent the University of Missouri in a first-class manner."

Earlier, Steckel had coached at Rutgers, Lehigh, Dickinson College and Ball State and worked as a graduate assistant at Miami (Ohio) and Minnesota.

"This is a great opportunity, and I'm very honored and humbled to have Coach Pinkel's confidence in my abilities," said Steckel. "We've got a really talented group of kids who are busting their tails every day to improve and I'm excited about the possibilities for the future. I'm looking forward taking the things that Coach Eberflus built and adding my twists to the mix to help us move forward," he said.

Odom, 32, had earlier served as head coach at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo., before serving in several different positions on Pinkel's staff.

"I'm really excited to be a part of this coaching staff," said Odom. "Over the past six years, coach Pinkel has given me a lot of opportunities and I'm grateful for this next one that gives me a chance to help develop our players as students, athletes and young men," he said.

Eberflus and former Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, who was hired in December as Wyoming's new head coach, were the first defections on Pinkel's staff since he arrived at Missouri.

Tim Griffin covers college football for ESPN.com.