A longtime fixture at Mizzou, Barry Odom, 39, takes over a program he has been immersed in at every level for some 14 years – including six in an administrative capacity (2003-08), four as a coach (2009-11, 2015) and four as a highly-successful student-athlete (1996-99). He has spent the past four seasons as a defensive coordinator, including three at Memphis (2012-14) and one at Missouri, where his units were considered among the best in the nation.
"We are extremely excited to announce Barry Odom as the new leader of the Mizzou football program," Rhoades said. "We had the opportunity to visit with a number of excellent coaches throughout our search. At the conclusion of that process, Coach Odom was the clear choice to serve as our next coach. He is a man of high integrity and possesses all the qualities you look for in a successful head coach. He has an undeniable passion for Mizzou, a strong track-record of success at each level of his career and a clear vision to mentor our student-athletes and lead our program to even greater heights."
Odom recently finished up an outstanding season as first-year defensive coordinator for Mizzou and retired coach Gary Pinkel, as his Tigers ranked ninth in the nation in total defense, allowing just 302.0 yards per game. Since the NCAA began tracking defensive statistics in 1978, this marks the first time in MU history that Mizzou has had a top-10 defense. Odom's defense was also ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (16.2 avg.), seventh in pass defense (169.2 avg.) and second in tackles for loss (8.8 avg.).
Prior to that, Odom became one of the more highly sought-after coordinators in the country due to three stellar years directing Memphis' defense from 2012-14. His 2014 defense was a key component of Memphis' 10-3 season, as his unit finished the regular season ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense (17.1 avg.) and 22nd in total defense (343.3 avg.). That marked an impressive incremental improvement under Odom's watch, as Memphis ranked 117th nationally in total defense the season prior to his arrival. In his first season at Memphis, the defense improved to 50th nationally (383.6 avg.), followed by a jump to 39th in 2013 (370.7 avg.). Memphis earned a share of the 2014 American Athletic Conference title, giving them a conference championship for the first time since 1971.