McCarney: Gundy, Cowboys Have Bright Future

The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Iowa State Cyclones will play a very important football game Saturday in Ames, Iowa. The Cowboys, in their first year under Mike Gundy, have hopes of continuing a three-year bowl run, while the Cyclones were a favorite to win the Big 12 North Division. Instead both squads find themselves trying to pull out of an early Big 12 losing spiral that has consisted of three straight defeats.

While the majority of fans are solidly supporting the head coaches at the two schools, the vocal minority has caused a stir. How much of one?

The Des Moines Register had a story Wednesday in which new athletic director Jaime Pollard was openly supporting Iowa State head football coach Dan McCarney. This is the same McCarney that has led Iowa State to bowls in four of the past five seasons. The same McCarney that is the winningest coach in Iowa State history. The same McCarney that Iowa State is flat out lucky to have.

In Oklahoma, the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, has in the last several days surveyed fans to see what their pulse was on Gundy and the program, and they contacted recruits to see if their thoughts have changed on the Cowboys during their trials the past several weeks.

McCarney has seen this type of fan reaction and lived through it to lift the Iowa State program and his own coaching stock. While he and his staff plot a way to beat OSU, and end the Cyclones losing skid, he took time to praise OSU for the hiring of Gundy and show support for the first-year head coach of the Cowboys.

"I've been in those games like OSU was in last week where my team turned the ball over a bunch," said McCarney. "There are a lot of real quality players there on Oklahoma State's team, no doubt about it. There is definitely some youth on that team. I have always had respect for that program at Oklahoma State whether it was Bob Simmons, Les Miles, or now Mike Gundy. They have really good players and a quality program and I know they will come in here very hungry and that should make for a great football game."

McCarney had losing records in his first five seasons at Iowa State, yet Iowa State stayed the course with him and was rewarded with a 9-3 breakout season in 2000. In his 11th season McCarney feels Gundy will deliver similar success in Stillwater.

"OSU couldn't have made a better decision than to hire and promote Mike Gundy," said McCarney. "I've known him. I've coached against him. I've known about him as a player at Oklahoma State, and I've known him as a coach at Oklahoma State. He is a winner through and through. He has all the things you are looking for. We all know there are going to be tough times, but that's when you find out the most about people when adversity hits and the toughest of times, you really can be an inspiration in fighting and getting it turned around. There is no doubt Mike Gundy will do this and the future looks very bright for the Cowboys."

If the old saying is true, it takes one to know one, then Oklahoma State fans should just sit back and let Gundy prove McCarney right on this one. If he proves it Saturday with his first Big 12 win, McCarney can at least say I told you so.

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