John Klein: Pat Jones proud of Mike Gundy's coaching accomplishments at OSU
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Monday, October 22, 2012
10/22/12 at 4:59 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: Jones takes pride in Gundy's achievements
It is hard to imagine Pat Jones doing "the Gundy" dance or going off on a rant about being a 40-year-old man.
Yet, it is not a stretch to see Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy as a modern-day Jones, a throwback coach adapted to today's college athletes.
Jones doesn't much care about uniform combinations or social media.
However, Jones does care about Gundy and Oklahoma State football.
"He's not some guy brought in from Arkansas or Texas," said Jones. "He's an Oklahoman. He grew up in this state. He played high school football in this state. He played his college football in this state.
"He worked his way up the coaching ladder primarily in this state. Everyone at OSU, actually everyone in this state, should be proud of what he's done. He's one of us. I think that makes it more special."
Jones won 62 games as OSU's coach from 1984-94.
Gundy won his 63rd game as OSU's coach on Saturday, passing Jones as the school's winningest coach.
Gundy has coached OSU during the most transformational period in O-State's football history.
Oklahoma State football went from occasional contender to Big 12 champion under Gundy.
Oklahoma State football has left behind an era of limited resources, facilities and broken promises to a deluxe stadium, coaching stability and a bright future.
"All of it works together, and what Mike brought to OSU is a huge part of that," said Jones. "The facilities and the commitment of the school to football was huge. I felt like those things were missing at one time over in Stillwater. That changed.
"But none of it means anything without Mike. It isn't just the coaching. He has a true love for the school, and I think that comes out in how he does his job. Kids see that enthusiasm and excitement for OSU football that Mike exudes. Plus, he's just a very good coach."
Gundy has gone to great lengths in recent weeks, as it became obvious that he was going to pass Jones' record, to deflect attention toward his former coach.
"What we're doing now is an extension of what he got started around here," said Gundy.
What Jones got started was also special, certainly rivaling the current era in national prestige and attention.
In the mid 1980s, the Cowboys had two future Pro Football Hall of Fame runnings backs in the same backfield (Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas). No other school, no, not even Southern Cal, can match it.
The Cowboys had the best receiver in college football (Hart Lee Dykes) at the time.
And, Gundy was the quarterback.
"Coach Jones did some amazing things around here," said Gundy.
And, just like the 2012 Cowboys, OSU was within one game of playing for the national championship in 1984 when Bedlam was a showdown of No. 2 vs. No. 3 (OU was No. 2 in AP, No. 3 in UPI; OSU was No. 3 in AP, No. 2 in UPI).
"I don't know if there is an appreciation for their history over at Oklahoma State," said Jones. "Last season was great for OSU. They had great players and a great team. They played at a very high level.
"But I've said many times that Oklahoma State has a good history in football. They've had some great players, some of the greatest college players in history. They've had some great moments and some great teams. I just think they should do a better job of celebrating that history."
That is not to diminish what Gundy has done in the last eight years.
The commitment to football took a turn for the sky when Boone Pickens spent millions to put OSU football on the forefront of college football facilities.
"That got OSU to the starting line," said Jones. "That gave OSU football a chance to flourish. You still have to do a lot of right things to win like they've been doing with Mike.
"Still, having the facilities and resources to compete with the big boys is very, very important."
Jones would never say he coached at OSU with huge obstacles but we'll say it for him. It wasn't a fair fight. The Cowboys were recruiting to some of the worst football facilities in the nation and to a school that didn't seem to care very much.
"I once chided the folks over there by saying I was the winningest coach in OSU football history and no one would ever break my record," said Jones. "It wasn't personal. I said it because things had to change.
"I think you have to give credit to a lot of people for making football important at OSU. It had to be done."
Jones believes Gundy is the perfect fit at the perfect time. OSU football got a total makeover at the same time its coach was building a reputation as a young, hip and exciting coach.
"I think it has all worked together," said Jones. "Mike has always been a very mature guy. You don't walk in and start as a freshman on the kind of team we had and not have a lot of maturity and confidence. He's carried that through to his coaching."
Like Jones, Gundy is a disciplinarian, running a tight ship on his team. Gundy's first move as head coach was to boot about a dozen significant players off the team, costing OSU any chance to be competitive in Gundy's first season.
But Gundy said he had to do it to set a tone for the future. Then, he began to remake OSU football into a nationally significant program.
"I'm a coach," said Jones. "So I think coaching matters. I don't think anyone should underestimate what a great job Mike has done at OSU.
"He deservers to be the school's winningest coach. I'm delighted he's the guy that got that record."