THE COACH Gundy only wishes he'd said more and that he'd been better prepared

By Andrea Cohen and John Helsley Modified: September 25, 2007 at 10:20 am •  Published: September 25, 2007
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/> "I'm not against anybody,” he said. "I don't dislike Jenni. I mean Jenni and I have had a good relationship. Her and I joke about things. Obviously I didn't feel real comfortable with that article but I'm not mad at her and I don't dislike her. I don't think she's a bad person. Not that I'm somebody to judge. That's something maybe her and I can talk about.”

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said Gundy was merely defending a member of his program.

"Mike Gundy's actions were in support of one of his players. At Oklahoma State, nothing is more important to us than our student-athletes. They are the reason we are here,” Holder said.

"Coach Gundy was defending a member of his team. They are family to him. If we don't stand up for our student-athletes, why are we here?”

Earlier in the day, during the Big 12 coaches teleconference, Gundy was a bit more strident.

"Wish I would have said more,” he said. "Tired of certain people downgrading college athletes who are good people. If you want to comment on his play, comment on his play.

"But don't comment on something that's outside of his play that is downgrading or belittling to a young man who is trying to do things right and he has to get splashed all over the newspaper in the state of Oklahoma. And on a game day.”

Most of the 10-minute question-and-answer session with Gundy focused on his postgame news conference, not his team or upcoming games or Saturday's wild win over Texas Tech. Questions came both regionally and nationally, with the back-and-forth often strained.

ESPN's Joe Schad asked Gundy to expand on his stance that college athletes should be spared criticism.

"Did you see the press conference?” Gundy said, before Schad repeated his question. "I'm asking if you saw the press conference.”

Schad: "Yes.”

Gundy: "That pretty much answered that question, didn't it?”

Asked if his postgame comments, which included no talk of the game, might have overshadowed what his players accomplished in such an important win, Gundy stood by his actions.

"I hate that for the players,” he said, "but it's more important that a young man having a difficult time, going through a change where he's been moved to second team and another player's been moved to first team, and then for a person to take a cheap shot at him and belittle him in the public eye. … I thought it was more important that somebody take up for the player who couldn't stand up for himself.”

Gundy said he's received considerable support from other coaches in the form of phone calls and e-mails.

"I've been bombed with them,” Gundy said. "I don't read them, because I don't read e-mail and all that. I just know the secretaries keep coming in and saying the phone won't stop ringing, the e-mails are coming from the support.

"That's not why I did it. I didn't know it was going to have this kind of effect. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do, because of the way it was handled with one of our players.”



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Football Writers Association of American President Mike Griffith, of the Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel, released a statement about Gundy's comments on Saturday night: "I consider Coach Gundy's behavior completely inappropriate. It shows a lack of respect for the media and doesn't speak well for the university and the fans that he represents.”

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