December 06, 2012
This indecision's bugging me.
- The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
It's probably the sum of your feelings at this point, too. Oklahoma State University's head football coach and its athletic director had a unique stare-down, one that went as far as linking the sitting coach in Stillwater to jobs in Tennessee, Arkansas, California and probably the Canadian Football League - if the price was right. That last option is good for grins but Mike Gundy has been treading on dangerous, and very real, ground with Mike Holder and perhaps more importantly, an entire university's fanbase. It is arguable that this latest edition of "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" in Stillwater rings eerily similar to the British punk-pop princes' smash hit, with the two personalities mulling over the options and alternatives.
Gundy isn't going anywhere, or so he claims (this coming from his comments on a teleconference with media members in regards to the Heart of Dallas Bowl game). That's good news - we don't need to stroke out a la Tennessee's VolQuest website and its membership, especially if O-State was down to their 3rd or lower "choice" on a potential replacement for Gundy. I've been on The Corral long enough to know meltdown potential at first sight, and such a scenario would be one of the stormiest, doom-and-gloom days that message board has ever known. At the least, that bullet has been dodged for another year, or so it seems. At the rate we've seen this story develop during the past few days, I truly believe that anything that can happen...anything.
It wasn't that many months ago that Gundy was able to get on the same page with Holder...well, financially anyway. Gundy's contract was extended and his pay astronomically increased. Gundy enlisted some help to lock that in through his newly-appointed agent, Jimmy Sexton, who would handle the negotiations in the same fashion he would for his other clients, including the likes of Nick Saban. Another angle which could be taken is that Holder inadvertently helped out Gundy by awarding a very unproven and embattled basketball coach with a mind-boggling contract in the not-so-distant past. Regardless of what you believe, things were set up extraordinarily well for Gundy. When one compounds that event and the best football season record in OSU history, topped off by a thrilling overtime win in the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford. If there was ever a time to use leverage on a new payday, this was it. College football is a business, make no mistake about it; Gundy and his handlers are capitalists...such a contract "dispute" as it was, it was the smart move to pipe up and ask for a raise.
Now, here we are...a Cowboys team that had preseason expectations for a defense that was to be deeper and more talented than any in the Gundy era, a team with what was widely thought to be the best cornerback tandem in the country, a team that was allegedly built to defend its first outright Big 12 Conference title, a team whose head coach was now one of most well-compensated in the country at his profession...and the Pokes sit at a very underwhelming and very real 7-5. Destined for Dallas, Texas, where they will take on the Purdue Boilermakers. I can still hear air farting out of the balloon that was to be a promising "reloading" year.
It's a spat between grown men with very stark contrasts in business style. I haven't been a fly on the wall for any of their conversations, but this reeks of schoolyard bully shenanigans. There really is no reason to not give Gundy more oversight in matters such as scheduling - if there is one, I haven't discovered it or I simply disagree with reasons that have been put forth by the pundits, so far. The bottom line is that Gundy has flourished as a CEO head coach at his alma mater, even if he has been placed in a situation where he had some help in being as successful as he has: top of the line facilities, more than adequate compensation for his assistants, and shiny, new matte grey helmets...just to name a few built-in advantages. If Captain Hair Gel feels that things are insufferable at his current post, please...by all means report to the Southeastern Athletic Conference as a football coach and let us all know how boosters and athletic directors and government officials stay out of your business. I'm sure that makes for a great fairy tale.