The coaching carousel is in full swing in college football, and we can expect it to continue over the next few weeks. Almost every year we hear rumors about a program being interested in Mike Gundy, or vice versa, but it’s usually just smoke. So is Gundy not attractive as a head coach to lead a powerhouse program, or is he too comfortable at Oklahoma State to test the waters elsewhere?
Let’s face it; Gundy may be the perfect fit at OSU. He was their quarterback from 1986-1989. Then he was a coach in some capacity from 1990-1995. He left for a few years, but came back as OSU’s Offensive Coordinator from 2001-2004 before he was promoted to head coach in 2005. To say that he has ties within the program would be a major understatement.
Oklahoma State isn’t known as a powerhouse program, but that’s not because of Gundy. He has made them relevant in the Big XII Conference and has put them on a national level of respectability during his tenure. Still, most critics don’t see OSU in the same light as programs like Oklahoma or Texas within the conference.
Gundy making a move to another program would be a huge risk.
All of Gundy’s recruiting ties are in and around the state of Oklahoma. As OSU continues to be relevant nationally, he may be able to steal some recruits from other states, but most of them will be local. With that said, where else would he be a good fit?
When the Florida job was open, he was rumored to have put out feelers within the program to gauge interest. Other programs that have had openings had their share of rumors about Gundy as well, but nothing has ever come of them. A lot of that may have to do with the perception that Gundy isn’t a big-time coach, but I believe most of it has to do with Gundy being comfortable at OSU.
When you look at the jobs that have come open in the past three or four years – Florida, USC, Oregon and Ohio State, just to name a few – Gundy has been more qualified than the person that got hired, in some instances (we’ll leave out Ohio State for obvious reasons). Florida hired a Defensive Coordinator as their head coach, fired him, and hired a head coach outside of a Power 5 conference in the last five years. There’s got to be a reason why powerhouse programs aren’t attracted to Gundy.
Gundy could succeed at those programs, but he could just as easily fail. He has to compete with OU, Texas, and now TCU and Baylor, for recruits within the conference. As a result, he gets a lot of overlooked players that he develops into solid players. What would he do with some of the top talent in the country? Some say he would put OSU on the map, but I believe it wouldn’t work for him. That could be a reason why programs are scared to pull the trigger on hiring him.
Gundy has a knack for getting the most talent out of his players. A lot of that is because he gets players that were passed up by other programs and have something to prove. Getting 5-star players means that you have to deal with entitlement. Nowadays, that’s hard to do. It’s no coincidence that that’s a big reason why programs like Texas, Florida, Michigan and USC are down right now. They all have talent, but the players have a strong sense of entitlement that’s tough to get rid of.
If Oklahoma State isn’t able to compete with OU or the other top schools in the Big XII over the next few years, then we may see Gundy seriously fish in other waters to find a better gig. But for the time being, he is perfectly comfortable in his situation, and OSU is comfortable with what he is doing, for the most part.
In my opinion, Gundy would be making a huge mistake if he left OSU right now, and OSU would be foolish to let him walk away. They seem to be a perfect fit for each other.
But as we all know, fan bases will get impatient if championships aren’t won. If teams like Baylor and OU shellac OSU like they just did recently, then Gundy’s seat could get pretty warm pretty quickly.
But for now, Gundy should, and likely will, stay put and realize that there probably isn’t a better situation that he could be in.