Gundy Says SI Series Is Helping The Program

The last 10 minutes or so of the Mike Gundy news conference Monday were a little more interesting than usual because of some unusual questions that came up. It's not like the biggest college football matchup in the nation this weekend is in Stillwater with third-ranked Baylor coming to Stillwater to take on 10th-ranked Oklahoma State. That is exactly the case.

It wasn't like a lot of national media descended on Stillwater and the Boone Pickens Stadium press box. No, this was one columnist for The Oklahoman as Berry Tramel was going to make sure he livened up the proceedings.

Tramel mentioned that ESPN Gameday was coming to town and he asked about Sports Illustrated and its poison pen in the form of lifelong OU fan Thayer Evans and the Pulitzer Prize winning writer he dragged into helping him with his tragically wounded expose earlier this fall. Tramel asked Gundy where he thought that left the national perception of the program he leads.

"You know it's interesting in that we had 19 commitments prior to it and I think we have 22 now, I can't keep track of all that," Gundy started with his answer. "I think it helped us in recruiting.

"It benefitted our program and for the most part until somebody brings it up it's like it's not even there anymore. I think the report and the way that our (former) players responded to it helped us in recruiting. We had 19 and now we have 22.

"We had four or five players that are really good players that we weren't recruiting and they contacted us. That is the only think I can think because at the time we weren't playing very good. It is kind of interesting, but the truth is that you guys say for the sake of marketing, any publicity is good publicity. There was interest from good players that we weren't recruiting that contacted us after that came out."

There is no doubt that Gundy has had to repair his relationship with many in the Oklahoma State fan base as they were unhappy and felt that their head coach had been untrue to them when he listened to Tennessee and Arkansas as they had head coach openings last December.

Gundy has since said he wished it hadn't happened or at least become as public, and he no longer retains his agent.

Tramel asked what kind of job Gundy thought his "Yankees job" was now. "It's a great job, It's a great job. You can base a coaching job off of a lot of a variety of things. First off, we've taken the facilities that we have here to another level, especially since we finished across the street," Gundy explained.

"I would doubt that there is a facility anywhere else in the country in proximity to their building with the indoor facility and the practice fields set up that we have here. There may be some equal, but I don't know how it could be better. That facility made it a much better job right away. We had issues with weather in past years and that is out the window now.

"That has improved this job and we are able to recruit a broader base than we would several years ago. There are positives to that but there are also some negatives to it that you have to play through that we found out as this went on over the last two or three years. It's a much better job than it was 10 years ago for me."

So what would it take for Gundy to listen to another job opening and an athletic director's pitch? "Not really, anything," Gundy said.

And why did he do it then? "As I said last year I have to make sure there is a 100 percent agreement to what I think, what our staff thinks, is best for our program and our players, in order for me to go into a home and recruit and be 100 percent in it and get guys to buy into the team concept. Otherwise, I shouldn't be in the home," Gundy further explained about what he did last December with Tennessee and Arkansas.

"I shouldn't be for lack of a better term in with the opportunity and sales pitch we give in recruiting. If I don't believe it then I shouldn't be in anybody's home trying to convince them to believe it. That hasn't changed from the comments that I made last year about it."

Yes, the game on Saturday was enough to make the news conference news worthy, but thanks to Berry Tramel for hopefully reassuring Cowboys fans about keeping their coach in Stillwater for a long time.

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