Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy makes the right call

OSU coach chooses to watch his son play baseball rather than go through the ESPN ‘car wash.’ And that’s where he should be.
by Jenni Carlson Published: July 23, 2014


photo - Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy looks on as his team takes to the field during the first day of spring football practice at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., on Monday, March 10, 2014.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy looks on as his team takes to the field during the first day of spring football practice at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., on Monday, March 10, 2014. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Mike Gundy could be making an appearance on “SportsCenter” or doing an interview with Colin Cowherd or sparring with insufferable Sooner fan Skip Bayless.

And all the while Thursday, he could be spreading the Cowboy gospel.

Instead, the Oklahoma State coach will be 2,237 miles away from Bristol, Conn. He’ll be in Park City, Utah. He’ll be at a 12-and-under baseball tournament.

Right where he should be.

On a day when the parade of college football coaches continues at ESPN World Headquarters — they call it the car wash — the worldwide leader wanted Gundy to be part of the lineup. He would join fellow Big 12 coaches Art Briles, Gary Patterson, Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Weis.

Instead, Gundy will be watching his middle son play baseball.

“Oklahoma State’s important to me. My team’s important to me. But my son’s also important to me,” Gundy said earlier this week during Big 12 Media Days. “You kind of get your stomach in a knot, even though it’s an easy decision for me. But there’s still some pain involved because you want to make everybody happy.

“You know that’s impossible.”

In this instance, Gundy chose his kids over his Cowboys, his family over his job. That isn’t always the case when you’re in the demanding profession that he’s in, but Thursday, he decided it was more important to cheer Gunnar instead of talk football.

Good for Gundy.

Some folks don’t feel the same way. Gundy is the only football coach from the five major conferences who isn’t going through the car wash. Sixty-four coaches. Sixty-three in the car wash.

Gundy has heard the criticism about his choice. Understands it, too. It’s not every day, after all, that you get offered hours of free publicity on the world’s largest sports network. Even Boone Pickens’ deep pockets would get stretched to pay for what OSU was offered for free.

Yes, you have to answer their questions. Yes, some of them might make you squirm a bit. But most of the time, coaches and athletes who do the car wash at ESPN aren’t treated as hostile witnesses. There are no kid gloves, but there are no jail-house interrogations either.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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