With the Oklahoma State administration locking up head football coach Mike Gundy for a contract extension mid-season, it appears they are trying to do the same with his top assistant coach.
According to Gundy during his press conference Sunday, athletic director Chad Weiberg and OSU President Dr. Kayse Shrum have been in contract talks with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles for weeks.
“I can tell you our president and athletic director would love to keep Coach Knowles in Stillwater,” Gundy said. “He and I have developed a great working relationship, and I think he’s a very smart football coach and I really think he likes Stillwater.
“So we’re in the process today, and in really some over the last couple of weeks, in trying to work out a deal to keep him here. I think it’s best for Oklahoma State football, and I think Coach Knowles wants to be here.”
Prior to the Big 12 Conference championship game – in which the Cowboy defense held Baylor to 21 points, keeping every opponent this season to few than 24 points – Gundy had said he was “fairly certain” Knowles would be back in Stillwater.
A lot of that had to do with the ongoing coaching carousel in college football, which has even included Oklahoma State’s Bedlam rival Oklahoma as well as OSU’s bowl opponent Notre Dame.
On Sunday, Knowles’ players were pushing to lock up the finalist for the Broyles Award – given to the country’s top college assistant football coach.
Defensive end Brock Martin didn’t hold anything back in terms of trying to get his coordinator a contract extension.
“Give Knowles his blank check, close your eyes and hope he doesn’t take as much as he deserves,” Martin tweeted out.
Many of his defensive teammates were in complete agreement with the veteran lineman from Oologah.
Several simply quote-tweeted with a response of “This!” or liked the tweet in general.
Collin Oliver, who was named the Big 12 Conference Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, also left it to one word when quote-tweeting Martin: “Pleeeaaassseee.”
“I think it’s awesome,” Gundy said when asked about players pushing for Knowles to get paid. “We want our players to trust the coaches, and obviously they trust Coach Knowles.”
However, Gundy also understands the money involved in college football.
And while he is hopeful Knowles and the administration can reach an agreement in terms of his monetary value, there is also the reality that other athletic departments with bigger budgets could actually afford to throw more money toward an elite defensive coordinator – or when looking for a potential new head coach. The 56-year-old coordinator has some experience running a program as a head coach of Cornell in the late 2000s.
“It’s not quite as easy as just giving somebody a blank check,” Gundy said Sunday. “There’s a lot of details involved in that. But we’re working hard to keep him in place.”