STILLWATER —College football coaching searches create plenty of buzz, especially in today’s world where information — or misinformation — spreads rapidly on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Tuesday afternoon, the hubbub centered around Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and whether he had or had not been hired at Arkansas, a job opening he has been linked to for weeks and reportedly interviewed for on Monday.
Within 20 minutes of each other, one Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter tweeted that “unless this falls through, Arkansas has found its man in Mike Gundy,” while a columnist from the same newspaper tweeted that the “Hogs have their coach. Not Gundy. Should be announced today.”
Shortly after, a source told The Oklahoman that Gundy had not been hired at Arkansas. USA Today reported the same thing, citing a source familiar with the search.
Turns out, the job would go to Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde first reported the hiring later Tuesday afternoon, and Arkansas made an official announcement a few hours later.
Gundy, who is in his eighth season at his alma mater, has also been attached to the vacancy at Tennessee. Reports indicate he met with school officials on Sunday in Stillwater, but a source told The Oklahoman on Tuesday that job is not as appealing to Gundy.
Sources at OSU continue to indicate that Gundy is flirting with other job opportunities as a way to leverage more power and control over his Cowboy program — most notably when it comes to nonconference scheduling — and because of a relationship with athletic director Mike Holder that has become strained.
Gundy is also represented by agent Jimmy Sexton, whose clients include NFL players Tim Tebow and Trent Richardson as well as college coaches Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, Jimbo Fisher and Steve Spurrier, among others. He has a history of floating clients’ names for other jobs in order to get a big pay raise. Sexton negotiated Gundy’s new contract last winter, a lucrative deal that earned him $3.275 million this season and goes through 2019.
Gundy became OSU’s all-time winningest coach this season and has taken the Cowboys to their greatest heights during his tenure. OSU captured its first Big 12 championship in 2011 and has posted a 48-16 record over the past five seasons.
OSU went 7-5 this season and finished tied for third in the Big 12 standings. The Cowboys will play Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1.
Staff Writer John Helsley contributed to this report.