And the Nominees are In: OSU’s Mike Gundy
My second pick for the next Arkansas head coach, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, might be a bit of a dream hire for Arkansas, but it has been a popular name being thrown around this week.
Gundy is 66-33 as the head coach in Stillwater, a job he took in 2005. Besides a year as the quarterbacks coach at Baylor and a few years as the wide receivers coach at Maryland, Gundy has spent his entire coaching career at Oklahoma State.
Gundy was born in Midwest City, Okla. — a town about an hour from Stillwater. He is as hometown hero as you can get, something that will be a huge challenge for anyone trying to lure him away.
Gundy played quarterback for Oklahoma State from 1986-1989. He became the all-time leading passer for Oklahoma State and for the Big 8, now the Big 12.
This would not be the first time that an Southeastern Conference West school went shopping in Stillwater. Les Miles was the head coach at Oklahoma State from 2001-2004, when Gundy succeeded him in 2005 as Miles bolted for LSU. Gundy was offensive coordinator for the Cowboys during Miles’ tenure as head coach.
Gundy is somewhat infamous for a strange press conference in 2007 in which he responded to an article written about one of his quarterbacks. He yelled at the media not to pick on his players but rather to “come after me. I’m a man; I’m forty!”
The Cowboys under Gundy have had a winning record every season besides his first as head coach and have only improved as time progressed.
Last season, the Cowboys finished 12-1 and went to their first ever BCS bowl game. They won a thrilling Fiesta Bowl over Stanford as well as a Big 12 conference title. The Pokes finished the season No. 3 in the BCS rankings.
That 2011 season also marked Gundy’s first victory over in-state rival Oklahoma as a player or coach at Oklahoma State. Gundy won the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award as well as the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award in 2011.
Gundy is getting paid $3.7 million to coach at his alma mater and has been successful. Why would he leave?
Many have suggested that he does not get along with his athletic director, Mike Holder — a man who was hand-picked by billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who has donated over $500 million to Oklahoma State. So Gundy loses that argument and one route Jeff Long could go is basically to convince Gundy he would have a better boss at Arkansas.
Another benefit of Arkansas over Oklahoma State is that this is the big show in the state of Arkansas. Stillwater is not Norman and it never will be; Oklahoma will always be the premier program in the Sooner State. There’s a reason they don’t call it the Cowboy State.
Plus there’s the end-all-be-all reason anyone would leave anywhere to come here — the SEC.
I really like Mike Gundy and think he would be a home run hire for Arkansas — one of the few people — whose name has yet to be incorporated into a rendition of a Beatles song — that might actually excite the fan base.
Gundy is highly intelligent, he’s willing to take risks and to do the unexpected and he is as passionate as they come — that is exactly what I am looking for. Gundy fits the bill.