The promotion of Kasey Dunn to offensive coordinator wasn’t the final pull to keep wide receiver Tylan Wallace at Oklahoma State for his senior season. But it certainly didn’t hurt.
The Biletnikoff Award finalist from 2018 had a permanent smile on his face Tuesday at the Oklahoma State student union when talking about his position coach being promoted to the top offensive coaching position for the Cowboy coaching staff.
“I was real happy for him. I know that’s something he was working toward since he’s been here,” Wallace said. “He has, you could say, the street cred. He’s been here for a while … and I just really feel he deserved the job.”
Dunn was originally committed to becoming the OC at UNLV about a week before the Texas Bowl, but once Sean Gleeson bolted for Rutgers after just one year in Stillwater, Dunn stayed on with Mike Gundy and was awarded with the promotion – the first promotion to OC from within by Gundy since Gunter Brewer in 2008 (going from receivers coach to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach).
But it’s not just his position players that are excited to see Dunn get an opportunity to prove his chops as an offensive coordinator.
“I’m really excited. I’ve had a couple of encounters with him calling plays, and I feel like we did really good,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders said. “So I’m really excited for it.”
It goes a little beyond the play calling for Sanders, though.
The Denton, Texas, native could be spotted talking to Dunn on the sideline throughout his redshirt season in 2018, and the two spoke often during last year’s open spring practice in front of the home crowd.
“We kind of speak the same language and other people may not understand a word we’re saying. So it kind of builds a chemistry between us two, and helps us work together a lot better. … I love the man as a person, I love his personality and I love who he is. I hang out with him outside of football, too, so it’s good to be around him.
While fans have wondered why Dunn wasn’t an option a year ago – when Gundy went outside of the program to bring in Gleeson from Princeton as the offensive coordinator – the Cowboy head coach had his reason. And it’s very possible Dunn could have been passed over again this offseason if it weren’t for finding the right person for the most impactful position coach.
“That process for me took place based on solidifying a quarterbacks coach,” Gundy said. “I’m of the belief that every player on our team is extremely important, but the guy who has to be a good football player is the quarterback. And if we’re not pouring into quarterback development, quarterback recruiting – so on and so forth – it’s extremely difficult to win.
“So I have to personally feel comfortable with a quarterback coach that can develop a young quarterback – teach them, recruit them and continue to build the program. So I was comfortable with Tim (Rattay) … so at that point, I was comfortable enough and was excited about moving Kasey up.”
This will be the first season since 2009 in which Gundy will have a quarterbacks coach who is not also the offensive coordinator. That season, he promoted Robert Matthews from director of recruiting to the position coach – and the following year Dana Holgorsen was brought in as OC and QB coach, and it was that same combo with Gundy’s next three hirings.
Rattay was in the NFL for seven years – and three more in the United Football League – after a successful career at Louisiana Tech. His career numbers in college was 12,746 yards passing with 115 touchdowns to 35 touchdowns, and a 65.4 completion percentage while Louisiana Tech was playing as an Independent. In his junior year in 1998, he threw for 4,943 yards, 46 touchdowns, 13 interceptions with a 68 completion percentage and finished in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Since his professional playing career, he has been a receivers coach in the UFL and college, and more recently a quarterbacks coach at his alma mater from 2015-18 before spending last year as the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins. And when there was an overhaul in the coaching staff in Washington, Rattay was in search of his next job.
“The 'Skins getting fired helped (us land him) a lot,” Gundy said. “… So he was on the market and he had come very highly recommended. I’d never talked to him before in my life, and he came very highly recommended … from an agent.”
Sanders hasn’t gotten to spend much time with the third position coach of his college career between the staff in high gear for recruiting for the next month and classes restarting for the spring semester just last week.
“I’ve only talked to him like three times, so I hope to get to know him,” the Cowboy quarterback said. “I’ve heard he was an excellent college football player, and was with the Redskins before here, so I’m pretty sure he’s learned a lot and can teach me a lot and learn a lot from him.”