STILLWATER — The coaching connections between Oklahoma State and Big 12 newcomer West Virginia go beyond Dana Holgorsen, Joe DeForest and Robert Gillespie.
Former Cowboy cornerback Andrew McGee, who spent last season as a volunteer assistant coach at OSU while finishing his undergraduate degree, is now a graduate assistant in Morgantown.
McGee talked with me last week about the transition, coaching under Holgorsen and what he expects when he comes back to Stillwater with the Mountaineers in November.
How did you wind up with this gig?
“It was really random. I had no idea I was even going to get the call. I think I was coming from an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) event, and Coach (Joe) DeForest called me. He just kind of approached me with it and was like, ‘Hey I want you to come coach with me.' It was like, ‘Oh, really?' It kind of threw me off. I had no idea I was even going to really get into coaching permanently. I coached and helped last year, but I was really contemplating what I was going to do next with my life, and I thought I would immediately like working for FCA or something like that. He told me I could take however long I wanted to decide, but of course it didn't take me long to know that this would be a great opportunity for me.”
Give me a rundown of your responsibilities as a GA.
“Here may be a little bit different than normal for a guy in a first GA position, because of me knowing what I know as far as scheme and what DeForest likes to do. I have a pretty good opportunity to get right into coaching, which sometimes (as) a GA you have to work your way up to get the trust that you need to actually coach. But, man, we just do the whole nine, all the behind-the-scenes work. We cut up film, we make scouting reports, make playbooks, just sit in on all the meetings and give what we think.”
OSU fans know Dana Holgorsen the offensive coordinator. How would you describe him as a head coach?
“He's been great. I know it's his first head-coaching job, and you see a lot of similarities from what Coach (Mike) Gundy does and what he does. When you're a head coach you have to start setting stuff up and you have to be more of an administrator, and I think he's done a really good job doing that, which can be tough when you'll be calling plays and being the administrator that he's been. Another thing that I appreciate so far is how he's brought in a really good staff. He's brought in guys that are really good at what they do, similar to what Coach Gundy did with the staff at Oklahoma State. A lot of similarities as far as bringing in good, quality coaches that not only just coach, but they actually care.”
You just came from a program that won the Big 12 title last season. Lots of people think West Virginia could win it this season. Do you see any of the same ingredients with WVU that you saw with OSU last year?
“I don't really want to take on who's going to take the whole thing. I will say this, as far as similarities as far as what Oklahoma State had last year, everybody knew that it was kind of now-or-never time when you've got Blackmon coming back, you've got Weeden coming back. Everybody kind of had the thought in the back of their mind that, ‘This is the year. If we're ever going to win it, it has to be this year.' I think that's similar to how these guys think here with what they have coming back. We have Geno Smith at quarterback here. Tavon Austin was a really great receiver here. With these guys coming back and what they did last year, there are some similarities.”
You said you hadn't really thought about coaching permanently until DeForest called you. Now that you've been involved for a few months, do you see this as your ultimate career path?
“When this (opportunity) came, and now I've taken the first step into it and been doing it for a few months, it's almost like I was called to do it. You not only have the opportunity to be around a sport that you love, and a lot of people can't say that they can do that. But also, it's amazing the type of impact you have with these guys and just the response I have gotten from these guys when you're just pouring into them every single day. It's just a good platform and a good opportunity for me to not only coach them football, but coach them life. That's what I'm most excited about, because even in the few months I've been up here, there are guys who look up to me already and call big brother and really listen to what I have to say because I played at Oklahoma State. It's been great and I think it's definitely where I'll be going in my future.”
What do you anticipate that Nov. 10 visit to Stillwater will be like?
“I don't know. In one word, it's going to be weird. That's all I can say. When I think about it, it kind of gives me butterflies to think I'm going to be in a different color on a different side of the field. It's going to be weird. I'm excited. I think it'll be real fun. It'll be fun for the guys here, it'll be fun for the coaches there, because everybody's going to know everybody. I think it's going to be a fun game — a lot of similarities on offense and defense.”