University of Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel has named Barry Odom, defensive coordinator for the Mizzou football team. Odom returns to Missouri after spending the last three seasons as defensive coordinator and safeties coach for Memphis.
In Odom’s first season as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, Memphis led the league in total defense in conference games played in 2012, giving up just 331.6 yards per game. Memphis lowered its total yardage allowed in conference games from the previous season by 30 percent. The improvement continued in Year Two as the Tigers ranked No. 39 in total defense (370.7 ypg allowed) and No. 12 against the run (116.3 ypg allowed). This season, Memphis was No. 10 in points allowed at 19.5 for a team that finished 10-3, including a 55-48 Double OT win over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl on Monday.
“We’re really excited to have Barry and his family back at Mizzou,” said Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “He’s done an outstanding job at Memphis these past three years. He’s coached with us before, and it’s great to see someone professionally advance himself and go do such a great job elsewhere. I know he was sought after by several other power five schools recently, so we feel very fortunate to have him with us,” Pinkel said.
“It goes without saying how excited I am to have this opportunity,” said Odom. “I have such a deep respect for the success that Coach Pinkel and his staff have had since I’ve been away. Transitioning to a new conference is very challenging, and all they’ve done is get better at everything. When you look nationally at winning percentage, APR, graduation rates, Mizzou is the total package and it’s absolutely one of the top football programs and athletic departments in the country. I’m excited to do my part to continue to add to that, and our family is excited to be part of it again,” he said.
“It’s always tough to leave a place that’s been as good to me as Memphis has, and I can’t thank Coach (Justin) Fuentes enough for the opportunity he provided for me,” said Odom. “Being a part of this building process for the last three years has made me a better coach, and I’m proud to know that it’s in better shape now than what we came into,” he said.
According to his bio through Memphis University,
Odom was part of Missouri’s operations staff starting in 2003, and jumped into recruiting responsibilities in December of 2008 to fill the void when former assistant Dave Christensen left to become head coach at Wyoming after the Tigers’ 2008 Alamo Bowl victory. Odom’s hard work and personable nature helped secure the signings of several in-state standouts. He was also the lead recruiter on a handful of signees with Missouri’s 2010 recruiting class which was ranked 21st nationally by Rivals.com, the highest-ranked class in Tigers history.
The 2010 season saw the Tigers defense emerge as one of the most improved in the nation and the Big 12 Conference. Despite playing against high-scoring Big 12 offenses each week, the Tigers led the conference and ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 16.08 points per game. Additionally, thanks to the play of his safeties, Missouri ranked 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense, holding opposing quarterbacks to a 108.45 rating.
In 2009, Odom oversaw the rapid development of junior college transfer Jasper Simmons into an instant impact player. Simmons earned All-Big 12 honorable mention recognition and also received votes for the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. Simmons ended the year as the squad’s fourth-leading tackler (73 hits) and added two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception that sealed Missouri’s win over rival Iowa State.
The 2008 season was Odom’s second as director of operations, after handling the duties of director of recruiting the previous two seasons (2006-07). Prior to the 2007 season, he added assistant athletics director to his title. Some of the many duties he performed in that role included overseeing the football budget, coordinating team travel, handling compliance issues, scheduling of facilities, assisting with recruiting operations and managing the program’s day-to-day overall operations.
Odom also coordinated all public relations activities and community service events that required the presence of football student-athletes. He also oversaw all organizational aspects from a football perspective related to Missouri’s 2007 Cotton Bowl and 2008 Alamo Bowl trips.
He served a key role on the design and planning team for Missouri’s $16 million expansion and renovation project of the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex, which is the state-of-the-art, day-to-day home of the Tigers program.
Odom made the jump to the collegiate ranks in 2002 after spending three seasons at the high school level, including a successful two-year stint as head coach at Columbia’s (Mo.) Rock Bridge High School.
A native of Ada, Okla., Odom was a four-year letterman at linebacker for Missouri from 1996-99, completing his career in the No. 5 spot on the school’s career tackles list with 362 stops. He was a key player on Tigers squads that went to bowl games in 1997 and 1998.
Odom graduated from Missouri in December of 1999 and served as a Tiger Scholarship Fund development intern. In that role, he assisted with various fundraising projects while earning his master’s in education from Missouri. He returned to his home state of Oklahoma in July of 2000 to serve as an assistant coach for Ada High School, which finished the season as state runner-up.
Odom moved back to Columbia in the spring of 2001 as head coach of Rock Bridge High School, and he quickly built the Bruins into a power. Rock Bridge went 6-4 and won the conference championship that fall. He followed with an 8-4 campaign in 2002 that saw Rock Bridge reach the state playoffs semifinal round.
Odom and his wife, Tritia, have two sons, James Trump Odom and Gary Robert.