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Source: Missouri finalizes deal to hire Appalachian State coach Eliah Drinkwitz

Appalachian State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz makes his way back to the sidelines during the second half of a game on Dec. 7. (AP)

The University of Missouri has agreed to terms to hire Eliah Drinkwitz as its next head coach, according to sources.

Drinkwitz led Appalachian State to the Sun Belt title on Saturday afternoon, capping a 12-1 season with an authoritative 45-38 victory over Louisiana in the title game. Drinkwitz’s lone season at Appalachian State included hallmark upset victories over both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Drinkwitz brings an established history of offensive acumen that was missing during the later years of Barry Odom era. At Appalachian State he served as the quarterback coach, play-caller and offensive coordinator — roles he’s likely to carry on to Missouri.

Appalachian State entered the weekend No. 11 in total offense, averaging a Sun Belt-best 38.9 points per game. Quarterback Zac Thomas improved in all major categories under Drinkwitz, throwing for 24 touchdowns, 2,427 yards and completing 63.8 percent of his passes this season.

Prior to getting the Appalachian State job, Drinkwitz had successful runs as the offensive coordinator at both Boise State and North Carolina State. Perhaps the biggest compliment to Drinkwitz’s impact at NC State is that the offense dropped to No. 104 in scoring offense this season, falling from No. 31 during his final season there.

Drinkwitz served as a quality control coach at Auburn during the Tigers’ 2010 national championship. That’s his only experience in the SEC, but he did work in the general geographic footprint as an assistant coach at Arkansas State in 2013 and 2014.

Drinkwitz replaces Odom, who was fired in the wake of a 6-6 season and a 25-25 overall record. Odom got Missouri bowl eligible in three of his four seasons, but was fired by athletic director Jim Sterk immediately after this season.

Sterk’s search had been underwhelming until Missouri’s contingent flew to Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday night to interview Drinkwitz. Reports named Army’s Jeff Monken, Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz and Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson among those under significant consideration.  

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported a deal with Drinkwitz was close.

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