STILLWATER — All along, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has been wishing that last fall's now-infamous rant would just go away. Maybe now it can.
Today, the man turns 41.
Gundy says there are better, more important stories involving OSU football than his postgame cry of "I'm a man! I'm 40!” And he's right. It just so happens he's at the heart of one of those stories, too.
Because for all the national media attention and Internet buzz the rant created, it has detracted attention from Gundy's development as a solid football coach.
"I think he's growing into the job of being a head football coach,” said OSU athletics director Mike Holder. "I think anyone will tell you being head coach is a lot different than being a coordinator. There's a lot of different responsibilities.”
From all accounts, Gundy enters his fourth year leading the Cowboys as a more comfortable, more mature head coach.
"On-the-job training is the best training you can get,” said OSU co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer, who has been with Gundy the last three years. "You've seen him be exposed to a lot of different things — coaching staff and player situations, wins and losses, organizational skills. And he handles it all very well.”
Gundy came in with plenty of pressure in 2005 as the local hero taking over his old team. And some house-cleaning efforts left him short on talent, which made wins hard to come by.
"We had a standard, and some guys bought in, some guys didn't,” Gundy said.
But gradually, he has recruited the type of players he wants — talented, but understanding of his team concept and accepting of his philosophies.
"I'm pretty sure there was a lot of pressure coming in that first year, but he seems a lot more comfortable now,” said senior tight end Brandon Pettigrew.