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Berry Tramel: Who hired OSU's Dana Holgorsen?

Whether it was Boone Pickens or Mike Gundy doing the hiring, Oklahoma State got its head coach back when it brought offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen on board.
BY BERRY TRAMEL Modified: September 2, 2010 at 8:17 pm •  Published: September 2, 2010

STILLWATER — Mike Gundy's quality of life has gone up. Way up.

No longer does Gundy hit the office at 5:45 a.m., trying to figure out what to do on 3rd-and-5. No longer does he carve out six hours a day from his head-coaching schedule to work on offense and then try to cram that lost time somewhere else.

Oklahoma State's quality of coaching has gone up, too. Way up. Offensive coordinator? We'll see. Head coach? No doubt about it.

Gundy's hiring of Dana Holgorsen means the Cowboys have a full-time head coach again.

Past criticism of Gundy's dual role centered on his Saturday shunning of the ballgame, unless OSU's offense was on the field.

But now Gundy has time to recruit in the mornings. He's doubled his letter-writing, to prospects and boosters and whoever else needs correspondence. He's even paying a little attention to, God forbid, defense.

On the eve of Oklahoma State's 2010 football opener, the hiring of Holgorsen is a smash hit from all Cowboy corners. Fans. Administrators. Even Gundy himself.

"I knew it would lessen my load," Gundy said. "It's definitely added years to my life."

The only mystery is who deserves credit for this popular decision. Did Gundy see the light, or did Boone Pickens make him do it?

The answer is this was Gundy's call. But Pickens — and others who care about OSU football — helped him see that running his own offense wasn't working.

"Mike Gundy makes all the decisions relative to personnel on his staff, and that's as it should be," said State athletic director Mike Holder.

Believe Holder. That's his management style. Hire a guy and leave him alone. If he crashes, he crashes.

"That's because I was a coach," Holder said. "I know how I would have felt had an athletic director tried to tell me how to coach."

But no one was happy with OSU's offense by the end of last season. The Cowboys were blanked at OU and lost 21-7 to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl.

In the bowels of JerryWorld, Gundy said he had no plans to make a staff change.

He could have been fibbing. Gundy does that with the media from time to time.

Some OSU people say they could see Gundy wearing down from the time demands last season and dropped clues, wondering how long he could hold up.

Gundy admits it. "In the back of my mind, after the eighth or ninth game, I knew eventually I was going to have to get out of it," he said of the dual roles. "I just couldn't keep up."

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