No doubt about that. Gundy's playing career at OSU was quite memorable. The all-time leading passer in Big Eight history, quarterback of two straight 10-win seasons. Now Gundy has recruited himself off the pedestal of greatest Cowboy QB ever (welcome aboard, Brandon Weeden) and has delivered OSU its greatest season ever.
“Mike Gundy is truly one of us,” said OSU graduate Cory Clark of Stillwater. “I think it is one thing to have an alumni as a coach and that is great, but it is another to have an alumni as a coach that can do what Mike Gundy has done plus at such a young age.”
Gundy is 45; fresh off a contract negotiation that resulted in an eight-year deal worth $30.3 million, he figures to be in the OSU saddle for years to come.
Already, Gundy is just three victories shy of matching Pat Jones' OSU record. Gundy is 59-30 in seven seasons. Jones was 62-60-3 in 11 seasons.
The Cowboys lost Jimmy Johnson to Miami U. and Les Miles to LSU. But now the OSU job is much better than it was in those days, thanks to Boone Pickens. Gundy's being paid handsomely, he has the tools to win big and he's doing just that. For an adoring fan base.
“I think he's fabulous,” said Cromwell. “I like his honesty. I like his confidence. I like his passion. I have so much confidence in his coaching staff. Early on, he kept losing coordinators, and every time he'd replace ‘em with someone better.”
MIKE GUNDY'S CAMPAIGN SLOGANS
At least three notable Presidential campaign slogans can be tweaked to fit OSU coach Mike Gundy:
“I still like Mike”
After Dwight Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential race with an “I like Ike” slogan, there seemed little reason to change it much in 1956. Same with Mike Gundy, who already was popular but now has coached OSU to its greatest football season ever.
“I'm just wild about Gundy”
In 1948, Harry Truman's slogan “I'm just wild about Harry” was catchy and produced perhaps the greatest White House upset ever, but it almost didn't work. The Chicago Tribune famously printed the headline, “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Just as anyone at the Fiesta Bowl last January who didn't stick it out to the very end might have thought Stanford the winner.
“Happy Days Are Here”
Franklin Roosevelt rode the slogan “Happy Days Are Here Again” to victory in 1932, and he won the White House three more times. But Gundy has to drop the “again,” since these happy days of OSU football never before have been experienced.
MIKE GUNDY'S ENDORSEMENTS
* ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham: "Mike's really savvy. He gets it on a broad scale. A lot of coaches that ascend to that seat, all of them come from usually offense or defense specifically, and guys can kind of be micromanagers. I think on the global scale of being a head coach from the CEO perspective, Mike gets it.”
* Illinois coach Tim Beckman, OSU's defensive coordinator 2007-08: “Mike Gundy is a player's coach. If you look at a program, recruiting-wise, that has gone from where we are to the top 5, it's Oklahoma State.”