Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has worked with Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State and Auburn, so it was no surprise that he had a significant reaction to Auburn firing Malzahn on Sunday.

Drinkwitz was the running backs coach at Arkansas State in 2012 when Malzahn was the head coach, and Drinkwitz was a quality control assistant in 2010 and 2011 under Malzahn when Malzahn was the offensive coordinator at Auburn.

Drinkwitz on Tuesday at his weekly press conference shared his thoughts on the news.

“I’m disappointed for Coach and Kristi, obviously, they mean a tremendous amount to me and my family,” he said. “Obviously wouldn’t be here in my career if it wasn’t for them and the opportunities they presented to me. Disappointed, again, everybody has a right to choose who they employ or not, but man, did a tremendous job. Won the SEC, played in the SEC Championship twice, played in the national championship, won 67 percent of his games or something crazy like that.”

Drinkwitz added that Malzahn was one of the only coaches in the SEC to go toe-to-toe with Alabama coach Nick Saban, and actually won.

“Just surprised,” Drinkwitz said. “I know he’s used his influence in a positive way, I know he’s got a bright future ahead of him in whatever he chooses to do, and I don’t know. I was surprised, stunned really.”