A lot is going on this weekend, to start with one of the most important Christian holidays on the calendar in Easter and on Friday, Good Friday. At Oklahoma State it is the annual rite of spring with the Orange-Black spring football game, Legend's Weekend bringing back former Oklahoma State players and athletes in all sports, and the Orange Blitz with close to 80-90 football prospects coming to the campus and the spring game.
That is why The Oklahoman newspaper sports columnist Berry Tramel got maximum response with a front page column on the contract situation of head football coach Mike Gundy and suggesting that the school has more control than ever over Gundy's tenure and that without certain improvements or budget additions to the football program Gundy, the winningest head coach at Oklahoma State, not just by a little, but a lot, could be on his way out at some point. We spoke with Gundy on my radion show, Sports Talk with Robert Allen and Friends, on Friday on the Triple Play Sports Network primarily about the new proposals passed that will change recruiting and some other aspects of the sport, but the column and the contract negotiation came up. Gundy doesn't sound like a coach that would ever want to leave his alma mater, but he does sound like a coach that has been winning a lot. He sounds like a coach that appreciates what he has, but yearns for more with the goal of accomplishing more.
"Coach wants to stay here for a long time, and the only thing that has transpired is that I have to feel that there is 100 percent backing for Oklahoma State in football and that I think that the people involved, our staff not counting our nine of 10 coaches," Gundy started opening up with a third person reference. "I'm talking about the staff, our video staff, our strength staff, our recruiting staff, our equipment staff, our medical staff, I want them to be taken care of and paid appropriately based on the success that we've had and where we are in the league," Gundy said. "I feel like we have to increase our recruiting budget and increase the maintenance in our facilities. I just want to know that there is a 100 percent backing."
Gundy was careful not to mention any names or positions in either the interview with Tramel or in his response to us. He actually and purposely seemed to try and defuse any emotion or sentiment that would fan any flames.
"I haven't read the article but I remember the questions and this is not an argumentative situation," Gundy added. "I'm not at a point of where it's either them or me. I'm just at a point that I want to get into a room and get everything settled and have it be the way it should be, so then I feel good about it and hopefully, they do. It is real simple that if we get to a point where we don't agree that is the direction we want to go the at least I know where we are at and what our limitations are and then we need to, them and myself, have to make a decision on what the future is for Oklahoma State football. I don't want anybody to think that I don't want (results) what is the very best. One thing that I've learned in doing this for 13-years now is that if I'm not committed to believing that it is the very best for what I think has to happen for us to maintain or improve our program there's no way I can sell it to the young people that I'm trying to bring in here."
Gundy is under a contract right now that takes him through the 2019 season. He is paid well, one of the top 20 in college football and in the Big 12 is only behind OU's Bob Stoops, Texas new coach Tom Herman, West Virginia's Dana Holgerson with a new contract, and TCU's Gary Patterson. The TCU thing is a little bothersome to Gundy as his teams have whipped Patterson three out of four meetings in the Big 12 and yet Patterson does make $400,000 more than Gundy. Gundy compares other aspects with TCU such as assistant salaries, recruiting budget, and some other areas.
"Hopefully, we can get it worked out. I think we're to a point where we've earned it," Gundy said. "We do thing around here and in order to take the next step or really to maintain we're going to have to put in some serious commitment to Oklahoma State football to make that happen."
Thanks to the column, thanks to this being spring football weekend, and thanks to Oklahoma State being loaded for a potential title run season in 2017, Oklahoma State fans are anxious to see a resolution.