Gundy To Miss Fan Appreciation Day

STILLWATER - There are not very many Division I football head coaches that would miss their team's second day of fall practice. Not many coaches would miss fan appreciation day or the opportunity to discuss their just recently revealed eighth-ranked football team. However, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy will jump on a plane Friday night after his team's meetings and head to Orlando, Fla.

Gundy is fulfilling a promise made recently, and a promise made when he accepted his "New York Yankees job."

Oddly enough baseball is a theme to this story.

Gundy's middle son, 9-year-old Gunnar is on an Oklahoma Elite team that has won seven games this week in making it to the USSSA 32 World Series National Championship.

While Gundy's wife, Kristen, and his older son Gavin and youngest son Gage have been at Walt Disney's World of Sports Complex cheering on Gunnar and his teammates all week, Mike Gundy has followed along with cell phone text messages and videos.

"The kids have played seven games over the last week to get to this point and I told Gunnar if they got to national championship day, I wouldn't miss it," GUndy said in a statement released by Oklahoma State athletic media relations.

"The timing in August would never be good, but being out of town on Saturday is particularly unfortunate. Fan Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Like I've said before, the worst thing about being a coach is that you never get to see your own kids' games. This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to be there for my son."

When Gundy took the Oklahoma State job in 2005 one of the things he did was recruit my son and give him the chance of living his dream of playing football at Oklahoma State University. One of the things I told Mike as a friend, having known him since he was a 15-year-old aspiring quarterback at Midwest City, was do not let that job rob him of those special moments as a father. You can do both. I'm glad Mike listened, not to me, but to his heart and his fatherly instincts.

The Cowboys will get great instruction and will have a productive practice Saturday. The fans will get plenty of autographs and the media will get its fill of interviews, and Mike Gundy, and his family, will share with Gunnar a once in a lifetime moment.

If I were Oklahoma State, I would use this tidbit of information in recruiting. Some might say a more dedicated head coach would stay and be with his football team. But parents of college football players want to know that their son is in a program led by a man that is dedicated to his players. They want their sons with a man that will inspire, guide, and help them grow in the right way. The way I see it, before a coach can be a father to his players, he certainly needs to prove he can be a good father to his sons.

Have a good trip Coach Gundy!

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