John Klein: OSU, Gundy need to admit they fit together
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 5:46 AM
Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: OSU, Gundy need to admit they fit together
Mike Gundy just fits better at Oklahoma State than any other school.
The quicker athletic director Mike Holder and Gundy realize that, and come to grips with it, the better for both.
Gundy is apparently staying as Oklahoma State's football coach after a short flirtation with Tennessee and Arkansas.
Just a year after Gundy rode a 12-1 record to one of the most lucrative contracts in college football, his agent may have miscalculated exactly how much power Gundy has in Stillwater.
At the same time, Holder needs to realize this is a two-way street. Gundy has been terrific for OSU football. No, he couldn't have done it without Holder's commitment to give football the opportunity to compete on the big stage with deluxe facilities and resources.
But, OSU's football success is no doubt tied to Gundy's ability to coach and recruit at a championship level at a school with little experience at that level.
The first thing OSU President Burns Hargis should do in the wake of Gundy's decision to stay at Oklahoma State is to demand a meeting with the football coach and athletic director.
Here's what he should tell them: OSU could not have reached this level without both. Both are alums who love the school and are dedicated to making football the best it can be at the school.
Then, Hargis should give them one job. Work out your problems. Learn to get along.
It is in the best interest of everyone involved to make it work.
Some say Gundy wants a stronger voice in issues dealing with football, such as scheduling. If so, Holder should make that happen.
It doesn't mean Gundy should be the only voice but it makes sense to work with your coach on every issue that could impact the program.
Oklahoma State athletics is in a far better place thanks to the revenues generated by a successful football program. Gundy may not be the only reason for that but he is the most important.
Secondly, Gundy needs to quit thinking he could do this anywhere. Nowhere else is he going to be more appreciated. Nowhere else is he going to find the type of across-the-board support he enjoys in Stillwater. And, to be honest, nowhere else will victories bring as much joy to Gundy and his family.
Gundy is Oklahoma State. He's not Tennessee or Arkansas.
Yes, there's a chance that he would be a huge success anywhere in college football. Certainly, what he's done at OSU is fabulous.
Gundy is a proven commodity. He can really coach. He knows how to recruit players that fit his system. He hires great assistants.
But, much of that formula is tied to his ability to be a part of the culture of Oklahoma State football.
Gundy knows how to find every high school, and knows virtually every coach, in Oklahoma and Texas.
That wouldn't matter much if he's coaching in Knoxville.
It is a completely different culture in the Southeastern Conference. The SEC is about recruiting in the deep South and defense.
The Big 12 is about recruiting Texas and wide-open offenses.
Gundy is a Big-12 guy. Not sure that translates very well to the SEC.
It would probably translate well anywhere in the Big 12, including the long-rumored interest in Gundy by many at the University of Texas.
But being a great fit in the Big 12 doesn't mean it travels well to any other region of the country.
Occasionally, coaches can transition anywhere. Former OSU coach Jimmy Johnson left Stillwater and was a huge hit coaching the Miami Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys.
However, more often, success doesn't always travel well with coaches.
Steve Kragthorpe was a big hit at Tulsa but failed at Louisville.
Howard Schnellenberger won a national title at Miami but was fired after one season at Oklahoma.
One has to wonder if Bill Snyder, who is considered by many the best coach in Big Eight/Big 12 history, would be a success at any other school.
Some guys just fit better at certain places.
That would seem to be the case for Gundy.
That's why it is in the best interest of both Gundy and Holder to fix whatever is wrong.
Gundy is the best coach for OSU football. That doesn't mean there aren't other coaches who could win at OSU, especially with the new commitment to facilities and resources.
However, Holder needs to realize Gundy is the best fit for what the job currently is and for the near-future success at Oklahoma State.
At the same time, Gundy should appreciate what he has and where he is.
It is up to Hargis to make sure both understand that both were essential to where OSU has come and where it hopes to go.
Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy reacts during their loss against Baylor Dec. 1, 2012. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World