STILLWATER — Mike Gundy’s name is again popping up on the coaching carousel.
And for a big-time gig, as the Texas job is now vacant after Mack Brown on Saturday night announced his resignation following the Alamo Bowl.
Gundy said Thursday that he can't control outsiders throwing his name into the mix of potential candidates. He also did not vehemently deny interest in the position, either in front of cameras or off of the podium.
The Cowboy coach did say, however, that he has not had any contact with Texas about its head coaching job.
“If you are winning and have success and you, knock on wood, are established, (being mentioned for other jobs) is always going to happen,” he said. “And there is nothing you can do about it.
“I haven’t had any contact. I don’t have any contact. I don’t even mess with it. I learned from a year ago that I don’t even get involved in any of it.”
Before Thursday’s press conference, which was Gundy’s first media availability since Brown’s resignation, a team spokesman requested that questions only pertain to OSU and the Cowboys’ upcoming bowl game against Missouri.
But after the session, Gundy gave a public “no comment” on his interest in the Texas job to The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World.
“Just out of respect for everybody, it’s not really something for me to comment on,” Gundy said. “I haven’t even thought about any of that.”
Gundy also confirmed he is no longer represented by mega-agent Jimmy Sexton, who helped Gundy secure a lucrative new contract following a 2011 season where OSU captured its first Big 12 title and won the Fiesta Bowl. Gundy said he does have new representation, but declined to reveal who that agent is.
Gundy was a player on the coaching carousel last season, entertaining interest from both Tennessee and Arkansas. And with the way he’s led OSU’s rise to national prominence, with 59 wins since 2008, Gundy is going to continue to be viewed as a prime candidate for several big openings.
It doesn’t get much bigger than Texas, which is regarded as arguably the best coaching job in football because of its deep-pocket donors, gorgeous facilities and ability to hand-pick prospects in a fertile recruiting ground.
Texas has also seen Gundy’s success up close. OSU has won three of its last four against the Longhorns — with all of those victories coming in Austin — while evaluating and developing plenty of talent from the state of Texas that the Longhorns passed on signing.
A potential knock against Gundy, however? He’s just 1-8 against Oklahoma as the Cowboys’ head coach.
Gundy spoke fondly of Brown Thursday, noting that they’ve coached against each other since Brown was at North Carolina and Gundy was an assistant at Maryland. He lauded Brown’s people skills, along with the way he publicly managed the Longhorns’ decline since playing for the national championship following the 2009 season.
“He’s one of the really good guys in our profession,” Gundy said. “I told him several times over the last few years I have a lot of respect for the way he’s handled what in my opinion would not always be an easy situation. Very professional.
“When you go to conference meetings, different areas where as head coaches we’re all together, there’s certain guys you sit with and feel comfortable … Mack and I have always had that relationship.”
Several other prominent coaches have been linked to the Texas opening.
The two coaches preparing for the BCS championship game in Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. Others from the college ranks like Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Stanford’s David Shaw, UCLA’s Jim Mora, Baylor’s Art Briles and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.
Even NFL names like Jim Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin, Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll have been tossed out.
Texas announced Monday that it has assembled an eight-person search committee to help new athletic director Steve Patterson hire Brown’s replacement.
Will Gundy be on the Longhorns’ wish list? Stay tuned.
Because speculation will likely continue, unless Gundy publicly shoots it down. And the Cowboy coach recgonizes that.
“It’s the same as I would say a year ago,” Gundy said, “that when your team wins and you have success and you have been (successful) for a number of years, then that is probably going to be that way.