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Oklahoma State football: Relationship between Mike Gundy, Mike Holder is fractured

COMMENTARY — OSU coach is not pleased with his athletic director, causing Gundy to flirt with SEC jobs.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 5, 2012 at 10:10 am •  Published: December 4, 2012

OSU remains Mike Gundy's Yankee job. But it's a job he's finding increasingly distasteful.

Gundy has flirted with Arkansas and Tennessee in recent days, either as a poker play or to seriously consider leaving his alma mater, and here's why.

The relationship between Gundy and his boss has fractured. Gundy is not pleased with OSU athletic director Mike Holder.

“I know Mike has always wanted to stay here,” said a source close to Gundy. “But I know he's not very happy.”

Why? Because of Holder, the man who more than a decade ago championed Gundy as a future head coach of Cowboy football.

But Gundy best be careful with his flirtations. In Holder and Boone Pickens, Gundy is not dealing with affable men with short memories. Keep threatening to leave, and they soon will either help him pack his bags or pull out a water hose and blast Gundy to a new locale.

Worse yet, Gundy is damaging his status as the most iconic of Cowboys. Gundy was a football hero turned messiah coach. But fan patience has its limits.

Two years ago, Gundy dangled Miami interest at Holder, which was not widely reported. A year ago, same with Texas A&M, which did make the news. Now the Vols and Hogs.

Enough. If you want to coach in Knoxville or Fayetteville or Louisville or Gainesville or Nashville or heck, even Holdenville, get on with it.

Otherwise, it's time to work out whatever differences are plaguing OSU football in what should be the salad days of the program.

State football is better than it's ever been. A Fiesta Bowl win and Big 12 title a year ago. Now a tie for third place in the Big 12, even though the Cowboys had to go three quarterbacks deep, due to injury, for conference wins.

Holder can be a difficult boss. Holder's personality — he's not warm and fuzzy; in fact, he's neither warm nor fuzzy — alienates many throughout the athletic department.

And Holder is frugal, which can frustrate coaches of all sports.

But Holder is who convinced Pickens to invest in the vision of OSU football.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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