STILLWATER — Call it what you want. GundyGate. The Gundy-Go-Round. As the Gundy Turns.
It appears to be over, at least for now.
After flirtations with Arkansas and Tennessee during the past week, Mike Gundy is staying at Oklahoma State and is not considering any other head coaching job opportunities, a source close to the Cowboy coach told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. OSU sideline reporter Robert Allen first reported on his radio show that Gundy would remain in Stillwater.
But not before another major coaching search brought Gundy's name to the forefront for the second consecutive day.
CBS Sports reported Wednesday morning that Tennessee had offered its head coaching position to Gundy, though there are conflicting reports out of Tennessee as to whether an offer had been made.
By late Wednesday, Gundy’s name was out of the running, and Tennessee had not yet hired its next coach. Louisville’s Charlie Strong again appeared to emerge as the frontrunner for the job, but Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday night that he instead will sign a long-term contract extension with Louisville after turning down an offer from Tennessee.
Gundy, who is in his eighth season at his alma mater and has become the program's all-time winningest coach, met with Tennessee officials on Sunday in Stillwater. A source told The Oklahoman on Tuesday, though, that job was not as appealing to Gundy as the one at Arkansas, another vacancy he interviewed for earlier this week before former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was hired Tuesday in a stunning turn of the coaching carousel.
So where does OSU go from here? More specifically, where do Gundy and athletic director Mike Holder go from here?
Sources at OSU have indicated all along that the primary reasons Gundy was listening to other schools were to leverage more control over his Cowboy program, and because of friction with Holder.
Does Holder make any concessions, such as giving Gundy more of a say in nonconference scheduling?
Does Jimmy Sexton — Gundy's agent who has a reputation of floating clients' names for other jobs in order to get a big raise — get the coach another pay bump, less than one year after Gundy signed a lucrative new contract that earned him $3.275 million this season and goes through 2019?
Can Gundy and Holder, simply, learn to get along in a work environment, in order to prevent this same drama from happening again year after year?
And how much — if at all — does this feud tarnish Gundy's or Holder's reputation? Does it affect recruiting, or the overall perception of the program?
Those answers will likely surface in the coming days, weeks and months.
For now, though, Gundy will go back to recruiting and preparing his Cowboys to face Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1.
The coaching cycle can keep spinning without him.
Staff Writer John Helsley contributed to this report.