GoPokes TV: Ex-Cowboys Like Underwood Hire

Former Oklahoma State players Brian Montonati (1997 to 2000) and Byrndon Manzer (1992 to 1994) are excited that Brad Underwood is taking over the Cowboys program.

Oklahoma State associate athletic director for development and the voice of Gallagher-Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium Larry Reece has taken it upon himself to be the peacemaker. Former OSU point guard and now CBS Sports broadcaster Doug Gottlieb was serious about wanting to be the next head coach at Oklahoma State.

His family coaching pedigree, experience playing for Eddie Sutton, and love for Stillwater and his alma mater fueled the fire inside. It turns out the former Oklahoma State All-American Desmond Mason also likened himself for the job or at least wanted to be consulted on who was going to take over the reins. Both have voiced varying degrees of displeasure ranging to disappointment.

Reece has reached out to both and has encouraged all Cowboys fans that have the opportunity to show the love to new OSU basketball coach Brad Underwood. Reece and all involved in Oklahoma State athletics want a unified front, especially of former players. Honestly, for the most part, I think they have it.

In the end they all needed to know that athletic director Mike Holder did consider Gottlieb and Mason, he considered many, and he started his process way back in the season. He hoped he would not have to dismiss Travis Ford and make a hire but he was going to be very prepared if he did have to do it.

His research yielded Brad Underwood. A Midwestern-raised (McPherson, Kansas) and educated (Independence C.C. and Kansas State) individual with work ethic, small town comfort and values, and a basketball pedigree that included playing for Mr. Iba student and coaching tree foundation Jack Hartman and admiration for another of the big limbs on the Iba tree, Eddie Sutton. His X's and O's examples show tough man-to-man defense as a staple along with an offense that emphasizes getting to the basket, good shot selection, and lots of offensive rebounding.

On the day of the press conference we released the video with former tough guy and hard working standout Ivan McFarlin. McFarlin is coaching these days and said he wouldn't mind being considered for a job on Underwood's staff.

"I watched his team in the tournament and I think he is going to be a great addition to the family," McFarlin said. "He said all the right things and a lot of former players appreciate it. I'm ready for it."

Two other Cowboys from the Eddie Sutton era were also at the Wednesday announcement and agreed.

Brian Montonati played from 1997-2000 and was a handy all-purpose forward who became a fan favorite and still loves and supports the Cowboys. He played the exact same years as Doug Gottlieb and found it fine supporting the hire.

Bryndon Manzer is a former small college head coach and now, like Gottlieb, a broadcaster, and he knew of Underwood through former OU assistant and Stillwater High School head coach Jim Kerwin. Kerwin hired Underwood as an assistant when he was head coach at Western Illinois. Manzer also crossed paths with Underwood doing college games his teams were involved in.

"I think he is a perfect fit and Coach Holder did a good job in bringing him to Stillwater," Manzer said.

It's not an anti-Gottlieb or anti-Mason thought process but just a judgment of Underwood, what kind of person, kind of coach, and kind of fit he will be at Oklahoma State. In time, Gottlieb and Mason will come around. If the hiring of Underwood turns out anywhere close to as successful as it appears it will be at the start then both players will join all other former Cowboys and celebrate that success.

In the end, it is about the current and future players and about the program and seeing it succeed and seeing Gallagher-Iba Arena back at its rowdiest.

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