BERKELEY, Calif. — California coach Sonny Dykes is interviewing for the vacancy at Missouri following Gary Pinkel’s recent retirement, a person close to the situation confirmed Tuesday.
The person spoke condition of anonymity because neither school had announced the interview. The interview was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Missouri has begun searching for Pinkel’s replacement after he announced his retirement last month. Pinkel has been diagnosed with lymphoma and said he wanted to get away from the grind of football.
Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades interviewed Dykes last year when he was searching for a new coach at Houston and is now taking another look at him.
Dykes has two years remaining on his contract at Cal and the two sides have exchanged numbers on a possible extension. Cal is currently waiting for a response from Dykes’ camp to its last proposal.
Cal athletic director Michael Williams did not take over the full-time job until last spring and did not hire Dykes, who was brought on during Sandy Barbour’s tenure as athletic director.
Dykes has a 13-23 record in three seasons with the Golden Bears. Cal has shown improvement each season going from one win in Dykes’ first year in 2013 to five last year to a 7-5 record this season.
Dykes also has been integral in improved academic performance for the Cal football team after it posted one of the lowest graduation rates in the country late in the tenure of previous coach Jeff Tedford. The school has increased admissions standards since Dykes arrived, eliminating some potential recruits from consideration.
While the Bears improved each year under Dykes, they also have failed to win a single game in 12 tries against their three in-state Pac-12 rivals — Stanford, UCLA and Southern California — or against Pac-12 North powerhouse Oregon.
Cal got off to a 5-0 start this season behind star quarterback Jared Goff before losing four straight games in conference play. The Bears won two of their final three regular season games, including a dramatic comeback against Arizona State last week, to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.
Dykes previously spent three seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech and has also had stints as an assistant at Arizona, Texas Tech and Kentucky.
The Tigers went 5-7 this past season under Pinkel. He had a 117-70 record in 15 seasons at Missouri, which includes five 10-win seasons — after the school had just one double-digit win campaign in the previous 110.