STILLWATER — It's been almost five weeks since Todd Monken left his offensive coordinator job at Oklahoma State to become the head coach at Southern Miss.
But Cowboy coach Mike Gundy assures the search for a replacement is going according to plan.
“I'm very hesitant on hiring that coach until the NFL stops their coaching carousel,” Gundy said on Tim Brando's show on Yahoo! Sports Radio earlier this month. “There's so many guys that jump from college to the NFL.
“I don't want to hire a coach, and the NFL come in and pay him $1 million or $2 million a year to coach for them and he say ‘I like Oklahoma State, but I'm gonna go coach for the (Baltimore) Ravens.'”
Gundy brings up a valid point. But the longer this search continues, does that really mean he wants to poach another coach from an NFL staff? Perhaps one who is coaching in the playoffs this weekend?
It worked out well for Gundy with Monken, who was hired away from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 and continued building on the explosive Air Raid spread attack that Dana Holgorsen installed the previous season.
And the success rate of OSU's recent offensive coordinators likely makes it an attractive job for NFL assistants. The position has led to college head coaching jobs for Monken, Holgorsen (West Virginia), Larry Fedora (Southern Miss then North Carolina) and Gundy himself.
A popular NFL name recently thrown out for the job is Glenn Thomas, the quarterbacks coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He was a student assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, meaning he's plenty familiar with OSU's system.
But Monken did not have a history with the Air Raid before he came back to Stillwater. He learned it.
That means a wide variety of coaches could be possible candidates.
What about Karl Dorrell, the former UCLA head coach who is now coaching Matt Schaub and the rest of the Houston Texans' quarterbacks?
Or Randy Fichtner, the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterbacks coach? He installed the spread, albeit the kind with a dual-threat quarterback, as the offensive coordinator at Memphis in the early 2000s and helped groom Carolina Panthers' running back DeAngelo Williams at the school.
Or Frank Cignetti, the St. Louis Rams' quarterbacks coach who has been an offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, North Carolina, California, Rutgers and Fresno State?
Two years ago, it took Gundy until early February to hire Monken. The same could happen this season, especially if the Gundy is eyeballing a coach of an NFL team making a deep playoff run.
“I'm somewhat slow in that process,” Gundy said during that interview with Brando, “but excited about the future and the direction we're moving with Oklahoma State football.”