Are you kidding? Absolutely, the wizard of Oklahoma State's college basketball turnaround, not just this season, but within the season after the 0-6 start in the Big 12. Brad Underwood is a graduate of Kansas State University, he played from the Wildcats. Underwood is from Kansas and he has many friends and family there, including his mother, who word has it, is a very big K-State fan. On top of all that, one of the first items that needed to happen to clear the way for Underwood to come home to his alma mater happened today. Kansas State athletic director John Currie needed to go. The story broke in Kansas City at the KC Star that Curries is headed back to Tennessee as the athletic director for the Vols.
Sources have informed Go Pokes that Underwood is not only not fond of Currie, who let Frank Martin go to South Carolina and didn't hire Underwood when he had the chance as Underwood went with Martin to South Carolina before taking the Stephen F. Austin job and crushing the competition in the Southland Conference and winning the league three straight years. Underwood isn't interested in working under Currie, that according to our sources. We also know that there is a major undercurrent of Kansas State fans and supporters that want Underwood as the hoops coach in Manhattan.
Now, there is something else in the way. Bruce Weber, hired by Currie, is the current head coach of the Wildcats. A good coach, Weber has Kansas State at 17-12 and 6-10 in the Big 12 with a game at TCU on Wednesday. The Wildcats finish with Texas Tech as home on Saturday, so they could win these last two and get back on the bubble or better with the NCAA Tournament Committee.
All that said, the question remains out there, needs to be asked, and at some point will have to be answered again. Last summer, I asked Underwood that if his alma mater came calling would he want to go home to coach the purple?
"I came here because I wanted to be here," Underwood said. "This is a fit for me and my family, and it is a place that I wanted to coach. I love the basketball tradition of this place with Coach Iba and Coach Sutton. I realize what this arena can be as a home court. I always thought, even when I was at Kansas State that if given the opportunity that I wanted to coach here. This is where I want to be."
If that hasn't changed and I can't imagine why it has, then maybe Cowboy fans have nothing to worry about. Then again, Kansas State people are a lot like Oklahoma State people, determined, know what they want and they go get it.
That might make you nervous, but then again, the buy out attached to Underwood's contract is huge, really huge (six-million) to leave after this season for a Big 12 rival. His contract is for five years and pays him a total of $6.3-million.
If Underwood leaves Oklahoma State before the end of the five-year deal, he will owe OSU a minimum of $2 million. He would owe $3 million if he leaves for another non-Big 12 job before March 31, 2018.
If Underwood were to leave for another Big 12 school, he would owe Oklahoma State between $6 million if it comes before March 31, 2018, $5 million before March 31, 2020, and $4 million if it's before March 31, 2021. All of Underwood's buyout figures are reduced by 50 percent if Mike Holder is no longer athletic director.
Maybe, those steep numbers will give Oklahoma State fans some comfort that they will keep their coach from the "Purple Hoard."