Jim Knowles has led the Oklahoma State defense to an impressive season, as the Cowboys enter Saturday's Big 12 title game leading the league in nearly every major defensive category including scoring, rush defense, total defense, sacks, tackles for loss, and the all-important third down conversion percentage.
It should be no surprise that Knowles was also recently named as a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in college football.
That type of success is sure to draw the attention of other programs looking to improve on defense, but head coach Mike Gundy shared with The Oklahoman recently that he's confident Knowles will continue to lead the Cowboys defense next fall.
“I am fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year. The Green Bay Packers may offer him $3 million. I can’t say for sure. But within reason I’m very, very certain that he’ll be coaching here next year.”
Knowles currently makes $800k annually in a market where the top coordinators in college football are making twice that other places.
Gundy has been vocal about fighting for a raise and extension for his defensive coordinator.
“It’s not a matter of finding a way to keep him. It’s a matter of providing him with something that puts him at a level that he deserves to be at based on his success.”
“If you want to play with the big boys, and that’s your goal and the philosophy of the people in the organization and the fans, you gotta get in the same boat. If you want to get in the boat, then get in the boat. If you don’t, then don’t expect it."
Gundy has led the Oklahoma State program since 2005, so no one understands their limitations in competing dollar-for-dollar like some of college football's blue bloods are able to quite like he does. However, he goes on to share that they are going to do everything they can to keep Knowles in Stillwater, within reason, and then puts the ball in his administration's court.
"We also understand my responsibility is to be feasible with the resources we have available and be fair with the administration and the decisions they have to make based on the resources they have available.
“But there is a side of it to where you have to decide if you want to play in the big games or not moving forward."
Gundy clearly wants his defensive coordinator back, and stepping up the commitment to Knowles would be the right thing to do ensure the Cowboys are able to sustain their success at a program that had previously been known for their offensive prowess. Knowles' stout defense has helped to shift that perception this year.
Will the Oklahoma State administration be willing to step up to the plate as other suitors are sure to emerge for Knowles' services?
Head here to read the full piece from The Oklahoman.
The Cowboys will take on Baylor in the Big 12 title game on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon EST and you can catch the game on ABC.
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