STILLWATER — Mike Gundy claims he didn’t even look at his contract when Oklahoma State offered him its head football coaching job in 2005.
"I just signed it,” he said, "and felt glad and lucky that I had it.” This is Gundy’s dream job, regardless of the state of the program or anything else. It just happens that he now finds himself in one of the better head coaching jobs in college football. The biggest reason for that is people like T. Boone Pickens and other major boosters who have put their money where their heart is: in OSU football. "I don’t think anybody will disregard how important it is to have money,” Gundy said. "To compete in football at this level, you’ve got to have money. "Without what Mr. Pickens started and all the other people that have jumped on board and contributed, it would be very difficult. It’s gone on here for 80 years. We’ve done good and bad, and it’s just been a struggle every year.” Even after a loss Saturday, Gundy has his 7-1 Cowboys in the top 10 in every relevant national poll heading into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. home game against Iowa State. The renovated Boone Pickens Stadium and the financial backing at OSU has brought attention to the program, sparking one national writer to call it one of "the most underrated” coaching jobs in the country. Texas’ Mack Brown even praised Gundy in their postgame meeting on the field, telling the Cowboy coach, "it’s much harder to (succeed) where you’re at than where I am.” Along with the commitment to build the facilities, OSU has shown a commitment to become a place where assistants want to coach, rather than a stop on the way to something better. "We’ve had a lot of good assistants come through here that chose to leave for a so-called better job, or they didn’t feel like they were taken care of financially,” Gundy said. "We want to keep them here unless they move on to become head coaches or coordinators.