ESPN did a story on how the maturation of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has coincided with the strongest period of success in Cowboys football history. The story, written by Brandon Chatmon, is good as he points out that Gundy's record is 84-44 and in that time period is better than what has been achieved at schools like Texas Tech, Kansas State, Baylor, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas A&M, Michigan, among others.
Gundy has grown and learned. Personally, I think he learned a great deal from taking over as his own offensive coordinator when Larry Fedora left to become head coach at Southern Miss. Gundy was criticized for sitting on a trunk to plot the next series and not standing up front to watch the defense. People were concerned whether he was more head coach or offensive coordinator. Gundy realized he needed to be more the former and give up the latter.
He will tell you the hardest thing about his job is replacing coaches, and because of success, he has had to do it a lot. Gundy has had 29 coaches not counting one this off-season he had for just a couple of days. He's had three coaches move on to become head coaches.
This off-season he lost his offensive line, running backs, cornerbacks, and inside receivers assistants. He has replaced them with long-time veteran assistant and former NFL assistant Greg Adkins on the offensive line, a dynamite young assistant with NFL play-calling experience in running backs coach Marcus Arroyo, award-winning Montana assistant and former NFL offensive lineman Jason McEndoo, and 30-year veteran college assistant coach Dan Hammerschmidt.
Those four hires in the off-season that Gundy, along with his idea and athletic director Mike Holder's agreeing to bringing on Darrell Wyatt as an offensive advisor and former Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Clay as a defensive advisor, are viewed as home-run hires, and has Gundy smiling just as much as the talent his team is showing for next season.
"I've really got relaxed and comfortable in this environment," Gundy said the other day when I interviewed him on the radio. "I'm very comfortable with where we're at and with the direction of our program. A big part of that is the coaches that I brought in. I don't think it could have turned out any better.
"Our players have quickly developed great relationships with our coaches. You can see that they respect our coaches and what they are trying to teach and work with them each day in practice. It happened so quick with Coach Adkins and the offensive line, same with Coach Arroyo and the running backs. Coach McEndoo brings so much enthusiasm and Coach Hammer is such a veteran coach. I really do feel like we hit a home run with all of the coaching hires."
Effort was never a problem in spring football. The team worked hard and displayed a strong positive attitude throughout the spring. Coaching has a lot to do with that. Currently those coaches are out on the road with the spring evaluations and camps will be coming up immediately after the evaluation weeks.
It will be interesting to see the coaches and how they fare with those two phases of the job. Judging by Jason McEndoo's Twitter posts the evaluations are no problems and my guess is camp season will go just fine as well.