While in Stillwater, Miles never worked in complete accord with Pickens, who is as central to OSU's current status as any coach or administrator or player.
And without Pickens, it's hard to envision the Cowboys here, enjoying sustained success that has them picked to win the Big 12 and ranked higher than any league team in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time ever.
So it's possible, even likely, that history served both sides well.
Miles gave LSU a strong replacement for Nick Saban, guiding the Tigers to a national championship. Gundy gave OSU a unifying force and a coach capable of upping the ante even further for Cowboys football.
And while Gundy is coming off a year that included flirtations with other schools — SEC schools Arkansas and Tennessee — through it all he remained in Stillwater.
“I've been very fortunate to be at Oklahoma State,” Gundy said. “I've said that. And I mean it.”