By Tim Gardner
Eliah Drinkwitz, one of college football’s fastest rising coaching stars, is leaving Appalachian State University as its head coach to take the same post at the University of Missouri, according to nationally published reports.
Official announcements from both universities and Drinkwitz are expected soon.
Drinkwitz, whose lone year of head coaching experience saw him take the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record with two wins over Power Five teams (South Carolina and North Carolina) and a Sun Belt Conference championship.
He has been attached to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn for most of his career, following Malzahn from Springdale, Arkansas High School (where Drinkwitz was offensive coordinator) to Auburn (quality control coach). He departed with Malzahn for Arkansas State, where he worked as an assistant and remained when Malzahn returned to Auburn and coach Bryan Harsin took over that program. Drinkwitz continued learning from Harsin as an offensive coordinator at Boise State and most recently worked three seasons in the same role at North Carolina State before taking the Appalachian State job ahead of the 2019 season.
Drinkwitz replaced Scott Satterfield as head coach of the Mountaineers. Satterfield left Appalachian State to become head coach at the University of Louisville after leading Appalachian to a victory in the first Sun Belt Conference championship game in 2018.
Long-time assistant Mark Ivey coached the Mountaineers in last year’s New Orleans Bowl. It’s unclear if Drinkwitz will coach Appalachian State in their bowl game this year–which is another return trip to the New Orleans Bowl on December 21 versus Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).
Drinkwitz has been at the helm for some of college football‘s best offenses throughout his brief collegiate coaching career. The Mountaineers averaged 6.26 yards per play in 2019 and led the Sun Belt with 39.4 points per game. His 2015 Boise State offense finished second in the Mountain West at 441.5 yards per game, and N.C. State averaged more than 450 yards per game in 2017 and 2018 — his final two seasons with that program.
After long-time Missouri coach Gary Pinkel retired in 2015, the Tigers handed the reigns to assistant Barry Odom. Though Odom improved Missouri’s record in each of his first three seasons, the team finished 6-6 over-all and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference in 2019, leaving Odom’s overall record at 25-25 (13-19 SEC) in four seasons.