Ride `em Cowboys

GUNDY LEADERSHIP: Mike Gundy has been under some criticism from OSU fans after a slow start in his early tenure, but moods may be changing quickly after the successes of the passing game and offensive onslaughts as seen in the latter stages of the Kansas game.

JOHN W. BARHAM for GTR Newpapers

Mike Gundy is true orange.

When he became the face of Oklahoma State football in January of 2005, he promised to do everything necessary to put the Cowboy program on the solid footing it would need to compete for supremacy in the Big 12 Conference.

In year two of the Mike Gundy era, he seems to be making good on every promise.

In his first season at the OSU helm, the 38-year old coach was faced with almost every difficult decision a coach must make.
In very short order, Gundy put together an all-star coaching staff that has proven it not only can coach the game on the field, but can recruit with the best. OSU’s 2006 recruiting class has been consistently ranked among the top 15 in the country.

During his rookie campaign, OSU’s personable young coach faced early and difficult decisions that included dismissing several players who were likely impact players going into the 2005 season.

He also had to deal with the untimely death of Vernon Grant, an inspirational team leader and multi-year starter. Gundy handled the early adversity with a maturity sometimes not seen in much older and experienced coaches.

Similar to this season, Gundy’s first season at the OSU helm started with three straight victories. OSU’s run through the rugged Big 12 schedule was not without highlights. The Cowboys upended Texas Tech at Boone Pickens Stadium and had eventual national champion Texas on the ropes until a late Longhorn rally.

The Cowboys narrowly lost to eventual bowl qualifier Missouri and staged a furious rally at Baylor that fell just short.

Under Gundy, OSU has embraced the legends that wore the Cowboy uniform in the past. Former greats including Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Hart Lee Dykes, are frequent visitors on the OSU sideline.

Gundy, Oklahoma State’s all-time leading passer and a member of the Cowboy coaching staff for 10 of the past 14 years, became the school’s 22nd head football coach on January 3, 2005.

OSU’s head coach was a four-year starter at quarterback for Pat Jones’ Cowboys from 1986-89. He has had two stints as OSU’s offensive coordinator and has also coached Cowboy quarterbacks and receivers.

Gundy is just the second Oklahoma State University graduate to assume the head coaching duties. Jim Lookabaugh (1939-49) was the other, and all he did was lead the Pokes to back-to-back New Years’ Day bowls in 1944 and 1945.

He became Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback four games into his true freshman season and led the Cowboys to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 1987 and 1988.

During his four-year Oklahoma State career, Gundy passed for 7,997 yards and 49 touchdowns. He passed for 2,106 yards in 1987 and 2,163 in 1988.

After graduation, Gundy remained on the Oklahoma State coaching staff. He coached the receivers in 1990, the quarterbacks from 1991-1993 and was elevated to offensive coordinator prior to the 1994 season.

Gundy spent one season at Baylor (1996) as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator and spent four seasons at Maryland (1997-2000) as receivers coach. He returned to Stillwater in 2001 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator and has also coached OSU quarterbacks.

Gundy was an all-state quarterback at Midwest City High School and was the Oklahoma Player of the Year in 1986. He and his wife, Kristen, have three children, Gavin, Gunnar and Gage.

Updated 10-25-2006

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