ZOU Unit: Mizzou Family Crossover Dinner

Zou Unit is your source for the inside scoop on Mizzou Football. Each week, host Evan Boehm will give you a behind-the-scenes look at a different aspect of the football program, from facility tours to exclusive interviews. This week, Boehm and some of his teammates went to Coach Gary Pinkel’s house for a family dinner.

Boehm gave freshman quarterback Marvin Zanders a ride to Pinkel’s, and they jammed the whole way there. From Jason Aldean to Ke$ha, Boehm’s phone played it all. One thing it didn’t do, though, was give him the correct directions to Coach’s house.

“My phone led me in the wrong direction,” Boehm said as Zanders danced in the passenger seat. “What we teach here at Mizzou is no excuses, and I have zero excuses for why we’re lost.”

When they finally made it, Boehm and his teammates grabbed some food and sat down to share stories.

Coach Pinkel went first. He talked about his father, who fought in World War II and worked two jobs at a time in order to provide for his family.

Wide receiver J’Mon Moore was next. He told the story of how he got his start in football.

“One day I got in trouble, and the football coach came up to me and said, ‘Let’s make a deal. If I can get you to play football, I’m pretty sure I could turn you around, keep you out of trouble, and make you a better person,” Moore said. “So I played. I was good, schools started looking at me, Missouri came to me, caught my attention, and that’s how I got here today.”

Defensive end Shane Ray explained how much his mom meant to him, and that he chose Mizzou so that she could come watch him play.

“My mom probably didn’t spend anything on herself for years,” Ray said. “She was just funneling money into school so I could stay in school and to make sure I had everything I needed. She was selfless. She took care of me before herself. So I felt that I couldn’t go anywhere where it would be hard for her to come see me play.”

When it was his turn, Zanders cited the family atmosphere as the main thing that drew him to Mizzou.

Boehm shared the fact that he was a soccer player before he played football, and that he didn’t start playing competitively until he was in seventh grade.

Every player in attendance gave a little glimpse into their past, and Coach Pinkel rounded out the team bonding dinner with a look toward the future.

“I love being the head coach here,” Pinkel said. “I’ve had several opportunities to leave, and I haven’t left, and I’m not going to leave. I want to continue to build toward a national championship.”