Barry Odom has always been a conversation starter when it comes to Missouri football.
On Friday, the chatter was about his Tigers reaching six wins on the year in the shadow of an NCAA postseason ban.
The focus shifted Saturday morning, however, when Odom was relieved from his duties as head coach after four seasons.
Odom, a former MU linebacker, consistently made a point to maintain a strong connection with his players.
"I feel like I’ve got a great relationship with them, and I feel like it’s built on love and trust and honesty and just being real," Odom said ahead of Missouri's game against Arkansas on Friday. "They know what they get from me every day of the week, and that’s the way relationships are supposed to work.”
In the wake of his firing, the day after the final victory of his tenure leading the Tigers, players he has coached or known were quick to respond with words of both support and disbelief on social media.
Many current players found out the news via a phone call as they were dispersed for Thanksgiving break, MU athletic director Jim Sterk said Saturday.
"We tried to beat everything on Twitter," Sterk said. "We almost did."
Cale Garrett, senior linebacker: "Thank you for everything you’ve done for a program and for myself. Without you, I would have never had the opportunity to play in a Mizzou uniform. You have had a tremendous impact on my life well beyond football."
Adam Sparks, junior cornerback: "Appreciate it for the opportunity and all coach! You honestly put me in great positions to be able to change my whole life."
Richaud Floyd, redshirt senior defensive back: "Forever a fan of Coach Barry Odom. (...) The program that gets him will be lucky."
Khalil Oliver, graduate transfer defensive back: "Thank you @Coach_Odom"
Sean Weatherspoon, linebacker, 2006-09: "Today @MizzouFootball fired one of the greatest men that I know. I don’t support this at all! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Barry Odom has more wins than any former coach in 4 years at Mizzou. Ncaa ban up held and a True Son becomes the scapegoat."
Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver, 2006-08: "Don't agree with this at all"
Trey Hobson, defensive back, 2008-11: "He really has spent most of his whole adult life servicing Mizzou. (...) One of my favorite coaches I had the chance of playing for. By far the MOST GENUINE. EVER."
T.J. Moe, wide receiver, 2009-12: "Coach Odom is very connected in the college football world. (...) He’ll land on his feet in a hurry."