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Gundy’s Path To Stillwater Took Some Turns

by John Helsley Published: October 18, 2012

I wrote Wednesday about Mike Gundy’s push to become OSU’s winningest coach. You can read that story here.

Gundy stands tied with Pat Jones, his coach with the Cowboys in the late ’80s, with 62 wins, heading into Saturday’s homecoming contest against Iowa State.

In the story, I pointed out the dominoes that fall to shape any coaching search or hire. For Gundy, it took Dirk Koetter taking the job and leaving it within 24 hours, leading to Les Miles coming in and bringing Gundy with him.

The rest, of course, is history.

Gundy also let us in on a little-known bit of information on his hiring as an assistant at Maryland, where he’d been fired just before rebounding and joining Miles in Stillwater.

After being let go late after one season at Baylor in 1996, Gundy found himself scrambling for work. Few jobs are available in the spring. Yet the Philadelphia Eagles had an opening, and Gundy took a shot at that, interviewing with Jon Gruden, who was the offensive coordinator in Philly at the time.

Gruden went another direction, hiring Sean Payton… who had been at Maryland.

Gundy pounced on the opening at Maryland.

“I didn’t have a job,” Gundy said. “And I got the job at Maryland because Sean Payton left and went to the Eagles. I had interviewed with Gruden for that job at the combine.

“Then he hired Sean Payton for the same job and leftMaryland. And I went to Maryland. That’s how I got that job.”

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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