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."
But it's also not hard to imagine Pickens picking up the phone after the Cotton Bowl and saying, "what the hell is going on?"
I don't think Pickens is a Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones meddler. Pickens likes to be informed of what's going on, likes to chat with Holder and Gundy, but he's no football micro-manager.
Pickens also isn't blind. He saw the Cotton Bowl.
"I've never had anybody, athlete or president or booster, not from a serious standpoint, never had that happen in my six years," Gundy said of being told what to do. "Never anything remotely close to that."
Either way, what's ironic is that Cotton Bowl outrage — from fans of every donor level — was misguided.
OSU's offensive problems against OU and Ole Miss were not rooted in coaching. Dez Bryant was gone and Zac Robinson was hurt. No coordinator was going to fix that.
A prime criticism of Gundy was that he didn't insert Brandon Weeden. I'm not going to bash Gundy for that one; I, too, would have stayed with a half-healthy Robinson over a green Weeden.
But that's a head-coach decision, not a coordinator decision. Which brings us back to the crux of the Gundy matter.
Gundy's offense was not the problem of Gundy pulling double duty. OSU didn't need a new offensive coordinator as much as it needed a full-time head coach, and now it has one.
Holder said Gundy made a "decision that's in the long-term best interest of our football team and definitely his quality of life."
Not that it came easy to Gundy. He freely likens himself to a chicken with its head cut off. If there's a sprinkler system to be put in, Gundy wants to be digging the ditch, not standing around telling someone to dig it.
"I believe the person in charge, they should work just as hard as the guy just starting out," Gundy said.
But Gundy reattached the chicken head. He found a coordinator he liked — two straight years of watching Houston U roll the Cowboy defense made it convenient — and OSU football is the better for it, no matter who made the decision.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.