Last spring, he used Boone Pickens Stadium for a pre-draft workout of SMU receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who eventually was a third-round pick of the Steelers. While in Stillwater, Monken and his wife stayed with the Gundys.
“It was impressive, the end zone facility, the stadium itself, the amount of money put in to at least shrink the gap from a facilities standpoint,” Monken said. “You can't change tradition. You can't buy titles. But you can give a vision of, ‘Hey, we're going to have everything else that someone has, why not us?'”
And in contemplating his return, Monken found the talent appealing, too.
“That's a big influence,” he said.
Now he's ready to go to work, beginning Monday, on building OSU's offense. Expect some of the same and also some things new.
“I've been around enough offenses to adapt,” Monken said. “I've been around enough good coaches. I'm not afraid of that. Not at all. That's why I say, I had a chance to look at it and see what Dana had done that was really good. And I thought he adapted to what they had done and he made it his own.
“It was not Texas Tech's offense. It may be a base of that. It may be a start of it. But it's his own vehicle. And he did a great job with it.”
Monken's offense won't be Holgorsen's offense. But it won't be Power-I, either. He'll use input from the remaining coaches and the other new coaches and meld it into his own concepts.
“I think there's a number of ways to skin a cat,” Monken said. “And that's in no disrespect to what they did. You can't deny the success that they had. With me coming in, I can't be that. I'm not that. I have to be who I am.
“And we have to make it work collectively, as what are we at Oklahoma State. From the coaches who are there to the players that we have, ‘OK, how do we make it work to move forward?'”
And before any concerns rise up again, know that Monken's ideas aren't at all conservative.
In fact, there's nothing conservative about Monken, a straight shooter who exudes confidence, cockiness and swagger.
“Ultimately, nobody cares other than score points and win games,” Monken said. “And that's why I'm hired. And let's face it, if I don't do that, a good friend of mine will have to fire me. And I wouldn't expect anything different. I know that's part of it.
“Mike's not hiring me to come in and just hang out. He's hiring me to come in and collectively build an offense that's our offense at Oklahoma State and can score a bunch of points and win a bunch of games.”