Gundy has his dream job

Gundy leads Midwest City High School against Putnam City West High School in 1985.

Long road finally leads to the top football position at OSU.

STILLWATER -- In December 1985, when Oklahoma State's football stadium was still called Lewis Field, Mike Gundy led Midwest City to a last-minute win over Muskogee for the Class 5A high school football title.

Nearly two decades later, Gundy's high school coach, Dick Evans, was on hand to watch his star pupil be introduced as OSU's 22nd football coach.

It happened Monday, and in the same stadium, on the suite level at remodeled Boone Pickens Stadium.

"How long have you been preparing for this moment?" Gundy was asked while fielding reporters' questions.

"My high school coach would tell you 15 or 16 years," Gundy said.

Then he deferred to Evans, who said, "more like 22."

In between those momentous dates, Gundy has been everything that is OSU football. He became the starting quarterback four games into his freshman season and went on to become the school's all-time passing leader, throwing for 7,997 yards.

With Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes in 1988, he starred on the most productive offense in school history. That year, the Cowboys led the nation in scoring at 47.5 points per game, and ranked second nationally in total offense with 5,667 yards.

"There's a lot of people in coaching I could thank," Gundy said Monday, "but I want to start with (former OSU coach Pat Jones) for giving a guy who was 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds a chance, when most coaches wouldn't. He saw something he liked and took a chance when I came in here as a freshman and it worked out for us."

Jones also gave Gundy his first coaching job, as a Cowboy receivers coach, in 1990.

Ten of Gundy's 15 seasons have been spent in Stillwater, five under Jones, one under Bob Simmons and the past four as Les Miles' offensive coordinator.

"I want to thank Oklahoma State's people for what they've done for me from Day One, when I showed up here in 1986," he said. "It's been a long ride for me, but this my New York Yankees job. At times in our profession, people will tell you you're not supposed to ever let administration know you're at your last stop. But I don't have a problem with that, because I'm fired up to be here at Oklahoma State."

Gundy's parents, Ray and Judy, attended Monday, along with wife Kristen, in-laws Dan and Karen Strickland and sister Carri Long.

"The toughest thing for me to deal with is the excitement they have for me," he said.

He and Kristen have three sons -- Gavin, 4; Gunnar, 2; and Gage, four months.

While doing interviews, he fiddled with Gunnar's shoes. He started his day by feeding Gage at 6 a.m.

"I was sitting there thinking how this is one of the biggest days of my life, and I'm feeding a 4-month-old and he's upchucking on my shoulder," Gundy said with a laugh.

Mike Brown 581-8390