After winning the Sun Belt Conference championship as the head coach of No. 21 Appalachian State, Eliah Drinkwitz is Columbia-bound.

Multiple sources confirmed Sunday that Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become the next head football coach at Missouri after one season at the helm of the Mountaineers, pending approval from the UM Board of Curators.

Nothing was signed as of press time Sunday night, but paperwork is expected to be finalized Monday morning and the move publicly announced soon after, with an official introduction anticipated mid-week.

Curators Darryl Chatman, David Steelman and Jeff Layman were in North Carolina on Sunday meeting with Drinkwitz to seal the deal, a source close to the negotiations said.

Drinkwitz, 36, a Norman, Oklahoma, native, is in the first year of a five-year contract with the Mountaineers that pays him $750,000 annually. His buyout is about $1.7 million.

He replaces Barry Odom as head coach of the Tigers. Odom earned a salary of $3.05 million per year.

Odom was fired last Saturday after four seasons leading Missouri with a 25-25 record, including a 6-6 mark in 2019 that contained zero wins over programs with a winning record.

When Drinkwitz was hired at Appalachian State, Odom endorsed him for the position.

"I've gotten to know Eliah over the past few years and am so impressed by his vision, work ethic and ability to relate to all,” Odom said of Drinkwitz at the time. “His abilities show through in the ways his team plays. He sees the big picture and will put his kids in a position to be successful in every area of their lives.”

Appalachian State currently has a 12-1 record. Among its dozen victories this year were a pair of wins over Power Five Conference teams South Carolina and North Carolina.

After the Mountaineers’ 45-38 conference championship victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday afternoon, Drinkwitz was asked about the increasing speculation about his future.

“I hate to make this comparison, but the president of the United States always says ‘fake news’ and you don’t believe about it until you start seeing it about yourself,” Drinkwitz said. “There’s a lot of fake news and rumors and stuff going on out there. Our focus this week was being 1-0. My family and I love it here. We’re very excited about what we’re doing here at App State.

“But at the same time, every opportunity, I owe it to my family to see if that’s something we’re interested in. I’m not in any hurry to leave. We feel strongly we’re building something special here that can be sustained for a long period of time.”

He has coached at the FBS level since 2010, with stops as an assistant at Auburn, Arkansas State and Boise State.

For the three seasons prior to being hired at Appalachian State, Drinkwitz was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Carolina State.

Missouri and Arkansas both were reportedly interested in attaining Drinkwitz’s services, but the Razorbacks announced Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman as their new head coach Sunday.

Pittman and Drinkwitz join Lane Kiffin as newly hired Southeastern Conference head coaches, as Mississippi announced Kiffin’s hiring Saturday after he led Florida Atlantic to a Conference USA championship.

Appalachian State's head coach prior to Drinkwitz was Scott Satterfield. Satterfield, now leading Louisville, has coached his new team to a 7-5 record in 2019 one year after the Cardinals won two games. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year.

Appalachian State's current coaching staff includes defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who has more than 30 years as a Division I coach.

Appalachian State is scheduled to play in the New Orleans Bowl against UAB on Dec. 21.

eblum@columbiatribune.com

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