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Mike Gundy a wanted man, but don't expect him to leave OSU

Oklahoman Modified: November 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm •  Published: November 9, 2011


STILLWATER – Mike Gundy calls Oklahoma State his “Yankees job.” But what happens when the Yankees call?

What happens when Ohio State or Penn State want Gundy's services?

Don't laugh. People take notice when a school like OSU becomes a national force. The Big 12 leader. No. 2 in the BCS rankings.

LSU, no college football small fry, lured away Les Miles after seasons of 8-5, 9-4, 7-5. Defending national champion Miami pilfered Jimmy Johnson after seasons of 7-5, 4-5-2, 8-4.

The big boys know the Stillwater phone exchange. And any that don't will book the next stagecoach into town in search of the newest gridiron guru.

Will the Cowboys be able to keep their man? Probably. OSU football 2011 isn't OSU football 1983. Or OSU football 2004.

This OSU football has the facilities and the resources and the pedigree to keep climbing, which really is what the Cowboys have done every year since Gundy's maiden season.

And besides, Gundy wasn't woofing. OSU is his Yankee job. Stillwater is his Utopia. He arrived on this campus as an 18-year-old in 1986, soon enough became its golden-boy quarterback and now, a quarter century later, has coached the Cowboys to their greatest heights.

Why leave your dream job after a dream season, with no sign of major retreat?

“It'd be hard to get me from here,” Gundy said. “I would prefer to be here for a long time. I would prefer to retire here.”

Trust coaches at your own peril. Not every favorite son sticks around his alma mater. Frank Beamer has for 23 years at Virginia Tech, and Steve Spurrier did for 12 seasons at Florida. But Rich Rodriguez bolted West Virginia for Michigan.

Gundy turned down overtures from Miami last season. Others no doubt have called, too. But the calls won't stop. Notre Dame, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas. Gundy goes on the list of anyplace with big history and big money and big hopes.

So it will cost OSU. In the kooky-economics of college football, Gundy is underpaid, at $2.1 million this season. That's about midlevel in the Big 12 and not much more than Cowboy basketball coach Travis Ford, who in 2009 signed a 10-year contract. OSU is committed to Ford for $17.45 million.

The Cowboy triumvirate knows it. Boone Pickens, Mike Holder and Burns Hargis have two things in common. They all love OSU, and they all are savvy businessmen.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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