It’s a new age for Oklahoma State football.
The Gundy-era started in 2005. He has methodically molded Oklahoma State into an elite program.
No, he didn’t do it alone. He and OSU owes a lot to OSU super-alum Boone Pickens and athletic director Mike Holder for advice and a top-flight facility.
Pickens probably gave Gundy the best advice of his coaching career when he told him he needed to become the football team’s chief executive officer — meaning he needed to supervise the program instead of serving as coach/offensive coordinator.
Trying to do both was wrecking Gundy physically.
“I was — got down about 168 or 170 pounds or something. Just the wear and tear on me physically translated over into our team,” Gundy said.
So, he settled on an offensive scheme and found offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to install it. And when Holgorsen left for West Virginia, he turned to former OSU assistant Todd Monken to turn Holgorsen’s scheme into OSU’s scheme.
“Everybody has a job to do,” Gundy said. “I think I finally realized that I was fighting a battle that there was no return. I was just wasting my time.”
So he changed.
He had his dream job — coaching at his alma mater, and he needed to enjoy it.
“Get your staff together. Let them have fun. Let your players have fun. Just enjoy where you are at and see where it take us,” Gundy said.
And that’s when it changed.
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden said Gundy is more patient. He is closer to his players. He jokes around.
The Cowboys and their coaches continue to sail in uncharted and sometimes stormy seas.
The same seas charted years ago by Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Southern Cal, Texas and, yes, Oklahoma.
Now, the charts are in Gundy’s hands, and he’s taking notes.
“This is still new for all of us,” Gundy said. “I think it will just take some time. Ultimately, I think that we can get it done. I think it will benefit the university in a new way.”
OSU’s coaches already are having new experiences at the Fiesta Bowl.
Bowl-preparation strategies remain the same as in previous bowl appearances. The Fiesta Bowl is opening a new part of the nation to recruiting.
Since their arrival, several Arizona high school football players have contacted OSU staffers and expressed interest in coming to Oklahoma State.
“We’ve already been contacted by players that are within a four-hour drive of here, several of them,” Gundy said.
OSU doesn’t normally recruit the southwest because it’s too easy to drive to Texas to find big-time football players. The Fiesta Bowl could open new recruiting grounds.
And that could translate into more Big 12 Championships and BCS bowl games.