The proper prism to view the relationship between Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State is not employer and employee but as a marriage. Though he was once committed to Oklahoma, Gundy played quarterback for Oklahoma State from 1986-89 — he was the best in school history until he later recruited multiple quarterbacks better than he was — then immediately moved into coaching for his alma mater, first as wide receivers coach, then quarterbacks coach, and then as offensive coordinator.
Gundy took a brief break in the late ’90s, spending a year at Baylor and four at Maryland, but in 2001 returned as assistant head coach and has yet to leave. The once 40-year-old is now 52 and he’s spent all but five years since he turned 18 in Cowboy orange and black.
And he doesn’t ever see that changing.
Like many marriages, Gundy once thought about leaving. There was a time when he quarreled with OSU mega-booster T. Boone Pickens as well as AD Mike Holder, but now things are good between Gundy and his two bosses — or, at least good enough to where it’s not worth it to him to pack up and start over elsewhere. Arkansas once came after, as did Tennessee — three different times. “Tennessee put together an unbelievable package, and it’s hard to tell somebody no when that happens,” he says now. “But I made the right decision.”
But now Gundy tells ESPN’s Chris Low that he’s imagined what life would be like in a different working relationship and decided it’s not for him.
“This is who I am. This is what I am. This is where I belong. This is me. There’s no reason for me to go anywhere else,” he said.
This is not the first time Gundy has expressed a similar sentiment. Far from it!
“I’m going to retire at Oklahoma State,” Gundy said in 2017. “I think we all dream of someday being the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, but I’m not going to coach college anywhere else. I’m going to finish at Oklahoma State, and I suspect that will be the last place that I coach.”
Earlier this summer Gundy said he planned to coach until he’s 60, which would take him through the 2026 season — his 22nd as Oklahoma State’s head coach and 36th as a Cowboy.
Gundy once allowed for the possibility that he would remain a Cowboy while changing his colors from orange and black to the silver and blue of Dallas, but he says that doesn’t interest him anymore, either.
“But as I watch what happens when I read about that level, it doesn’t do much for me,” Gundy told ESPN. “This is really who I am, here at Oklahoma State. We take good young men. We have a good culture. We have fun.”
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.