When News 9 anchor Ed Murray called Pat Jones the all-time winningest coach in Oklahoma State football history on Tuesday, Jones quickly fired back.
“For about a month,” Jones said while being introduced as an inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame at the Jim Thorpe Association Leadership Luncheon. “Mike's going to blow by that, probably about the third week of the season.”
The “Mike” he was talking about is, of course, Mike Gundy. He'll enter the 2012 season with 59 career victories as a head coach, which is three wins shy of Jones' total of 62.
Jones joins a Hall of Fame class that includes two-time All-American Oklahoma defensive lineman Dewey Selmon, "father of Oklahoma golf" Perry Maxwell, two-time All-American OSU basketball player Jesse "Cab" Renick, Jim Thorpe Association founder Lynne Draper and 1971 Cy Young Award winner Ferguson Jenkins.
Jones does not mind that his former quarterback, and the man he hired as an assistant immediately following Gundy's playing career, is about to unseat him atop OSU's all-time wins list.
“Mike's family to me,” Jones said. “We gave him his first job when he got through playing in 1989, and it's been very interesting, obviously, following his career.”
But the parallels between Jones and Gundy go much deeper than their career win total. Both were promoted from a coordinator position to OSU's head coach when Jimmy Johnson and Les Miles, respectively, left for powerhouse programs Miami and LSU. Both coached some of the best players in Cowboy history like Gundy himself, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Hart Lee Dykes, Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden. And Jones and Gundy are responsible for all five of OSU's 10-win seasons in program history.
“We had some really outstanding individuals,” Jones said. “I watch those old tapes and I'm thinking, ‘Golly, this stuff was even better than I remember.'
“It didn't take off (during my career) like it's taken off this time (under Gundy), but it still took off pretty good. I think all of us that were part of that deal look back at it and think, ‘Boy, that was a pretty fun time.'”