There are typically three things that can lead a football coach to retire over the summer -- family issues, health issues, or NCAA issues. At Missouri, co-offensive line coach Bruce Walker is stepping down less than two months from the Tigers' season-opener so he can spend more time with his family (as we first told you yesterday).
According to a statement, Walker said:
"In this business everybody has a time when they need to hand it up and it's my time... I've had a great run and now it's time to go be with my family and do other things. Coaches doesn't often get to go out on their own terms, so I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to do it my way."
Head coach Gary Pinkel didn't reveal much more:
"Bruce informed me (Sunday night) that he feels the time is right for him to step away from coaching. Bruce has been a very important part of our success here at Mizzou, and I'm very grateful to him and his family for all of the sacrifices they have made to help our program succeed. We're going to miss him, no question, and we wish him nothing but the best. Exactly what steps we take here to fill this spot, it's too soon to know, but we'll get to work on that right away."
At this late date it's likely Pinkel will replace his longtime assistant -- 18 years together at Toledo and Missouri -- by promoting someone from inside the Mizzou program.
Walker has family and property in Washington and it's assumed that that's where he's now headed. If he's simply stepping down to spend more time with his children, good for him.
But having covered the SEC for a while, we're just cynical enough to realize that there could be other reasons. Former Florida assistant Aubrey Hill abruptly resigned in August of 2012. He was later handed a show-cause penalty for NCAA violations he'd committed at Miami in a previous stop.
Do we think some NCAA (gum)shoe is about to drop at Missouri? No. And we wish Walker and his family the best. But it's still odd timing. Very odd.