Gundy Interviews for Head Coaching Job

The midnight oil was burning in the Athletic Center Sunday night for several OSU athletic department adminstrators and others involved in the evaluation of choosing the next Cowboy football coach.

To recap the day, former head coach Les Miles left Stillwater Airport on a private jet provided by LSU to take him to Baton Rouge and meetings with LSU officials before Monday's official announcement at a press conference on campus.

Miles is set to make right around $2 million in a five-year contract loaded with incentives and bonus opportunities. Miles spoke with all but one assistant coach late Saturday night and offered virtually all of his assistants the opportunity to go with him.

Defensive coordinator Bill Clay, tight ends coach Josh Henson, director of football operations Mack Butler, running backs coach Larry Porter, wide receivers coach Todd Monken, and secondary coach Doug Mallory have told Miles they were accepting his offer. Many of those assistants cleaned out their offices Sunday. Butler was in Stillwater wrapping up lose ends for Miles including clearing his office.

OSU Athletic Director Harry Bridwell and other administrators met Sunday with both assistant head coach Mike Gundy and special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. Gundy is the front runner to succeed Miles as head coach, while DeForest is a treasured member of the staff by the administration. Gundy's meeting could be termed as an interview. DeForest was offered the title of assistant head coach and a salary increase if he agreed to remain.

As late as Sunday evening Gundy couldn't be reached for comment. DeForest was happy with his discussion and said he had not made a final decision but he was leaning toward staying.

"I need to talk to one other person, but my wife and daughter and I are very happy at Oklahoma State and would be happy to remain here," said DeForest, who added he was also asked about the recruiting impact of the changes. "I told them we needed to move fast. We have a good class already gathered and I think we could keep it intact. We might lose one or two, but I said we needed to move fast."

Speaking of recruiting, defensive line coach Carey Bailey hit the road to Houston where he is recruiting for Oklahoma State. Bailey says he doesn't want to go to LSU and hopes to stay at OSU.

"I stopped by Mike's (Gundy) house this morning," said Bailey, "He wasn't there, but I told his wife Kristen that I was going recruiting and somebody would have to call me off to get me off the road."

It would appear that offensive line coach Chuck Moller will be looking for another opportunity. Moller confirmed that he had not been asked by Miles to go to LSU and wasn't sure if he would be offered the chance to stay at Oklahoma State. Moller has been an excellent coach at Oklahoma State and in an my opinion has been a very hard worker.

A source inside the athletic department warned of getting too eager in handing the job over to any candidate. That source confirmed that Gundy is the logical front runner, but that in preparation for this possibly happening an evaluation of coaching prospects around the country commenced on the day after Christmas and there are other candidates being evaluated.

Another source informed me that some names they had heard mentioned were USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and Texas-El Paso head coach Mike Price. Chow is an interesting candidate. Price, because of his recent baggage, perhaps too interesting.

At the same time the first source confirmed the urgency of the situation and said a decision and announcement could happen as soon as Monday but would definitely happen sometime this week.

The AFCA Coaching Convention starts next Sunday. It was at the convention four years ago where Miles put together a majority of his coaching staff. That could be repeated again next week for Mike Gundy or another candidate that winds up being named the next head coach at Oklahoma State.

The positives for Gundy are strong. He is dedicated to the university after playing and coaching at OSU. He would not look to leave as this is his dream job. He is dynamic and well liked by the players. Gundy is also a very knowledgeable coach who understands all phases of the game.

The source also added that he expected the process to last well into the night Sunday night and what happens there could be critical to the final decision. There's where your midnight oil comes in. Just check the lights on the north side of the Athletic Center, they should be burning awhile.

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