Oklahoma State football: What Mike Gundy looks for when filling coaching vacancies

Mike Gundy usually isn't one to take outside advice on new coaching staff hires, instead opting to primarily research on his own.
by Gina Mizell Published: June 16, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy gets ready to take the field after halftime of OSU's spring football game at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Sat., April 20, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy gets ready to take the field after halftime of OSU's spring football game at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Sat., April 20, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

— Nobody tipped Mike Gundy off about new Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich this past winter. No pal in the coaching profession recommended a young, up-and-coming Division II coordinator as a potential candidate for the Cowboys' vacant spot.

That's business as usual for Gundy. He usually isn't one to take outside advice on new coaching staff hires.

“I don't know anybody that coaches up there in that league,” Gundy said with a smile during spring practice. “I don't really pay much attention to suggestions on coaching staff decisions, anyway.”

Interesting. Networking and “who you know” is often so important in any career field. Especially, one would think, in the small fraternity of college coaches. And if there was ever a year for Gundy to solicit some help on coaching hires, this would have been the one, with OSU needing to fill four vacancies on staff.

But Gundy instead opts to primarily research on his own. A recent story from CBS sports described Gundy mimicking himself glued to his computer, scanning NCAA.com for prolific offensive numbers and zeroing in on Shippensburg and, eventually, Yurcich.

Other than big-time numbers, what other qualities particularly catch Gundy's eye?

First is what Gundy calls “intellectual level.” That means an impressive base knowledge of Xs and Os already in place, plus an ability and willingness to learn and grow.

Second is a strong history of working with young players. That means someone who can offer structure and discipline, but also compassion and guidance in a world where 18-22-year-olds are under immense and immediate scrutiny.

The last quality is what Gundy regards as the most important.

“We have to hire people that are going to be very loyal to Oklahoma State,” the coach said. “And, without saying this and sounding wrong, they've got to be very loyal to me.”

Gundy also highlighted defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements' experience working under Bill Snyder at Kansas State and safeties coach Tim Duffie previously working for Jim Grobe at Wake Forest as positives. For Yurcich and new receivers coach Jason Ray, their familiarity with OSU's style of offense is what made them prime candidates.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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