With heads about to roll across the college football landscape, the rumors are starting heat up from Knoxville to Los Angeles and places in between. One of those spots happens to be Fayetteville, Arkansas, where the Razorbacks are 2-4 and their last two losses to South Carolina and Alabama were by a combined 58 points.
So naturally, folks are starting to speculate as to who Arkansas might go after if they decide to move on from Bret Bielema. USA Today’s Dan Wolken throws Mike Gundy’s hat into the ring as a “dream hire”, writing,:
“Gundy is just hard enough to make it worth asking, while realizing he’s likely going to stay in Stillwater at the end of the day. But wouldn’t it be fun to see his offense in the SEC? And in terms of a cultural fit, the Mulleted One would slide right in.”
Wolken should know better.
Five years ago? Maybe. Before Arkansas hired Bielema, the Gundy rumors were far more legit. He was at odds with Athletic Director Mike Holder and megabooster T. Boone Pickens. But since then, Gundy has shot down rumor after rumor about him potentially leaving Stillwater.
Prior to the 2016 season, Gundy appeared to have a Come to Jesus moment when he seemed completely content with his job and career, saying,
“That’s ultimately what I wanted from the start, and then you go through stages where, in your professional life, things happen and you start thinking, ‘OK, what if I was the head coach here? What if I was the guy there? Could it be different? Is that something that I would want to make me happy every day?’ And then driving home the other day, I thought, this is who I am. This is what I am. I’m the head coach at Oklahoma State. That’s my job. That’s what I do, until I just say I’m tired or they just say we want somebody else to do it.”
But just a few weeks later, Pickens ruffled the feathers of the head coach with his own two cents on Bedlam, foolishly commenting,
“I would like to beat OU. Mike has struggled with that game. I think he’s 2-9, so we’re not competitive with OU. By golly, we beat Texas. We’re the only team that has beaten Texas four in a row in Austin. If we can beat Texas, we sure ought to beat OU.”
The goodwill seemed to vanish fairly quickly and there were rumblings of Gundy getting a big offer from Baylor and potentially being in the mix for Oregon. Nothing serious ever came of either of those.
Jim Traber says that Mike Gundy turned down a 10-year, $60 million contract from Baylor. Says Oregon could be in play for Gundy.
— The Sports Animal (@sportsanimal) December 6, 2016
The problem is that Gundy believes T. Boone gets more credit than he deserves for Oklahoma State’s ascension up the college football ladder, believing for all the millions Pickens has donated for new facilities, a football team still needs a head coach to win. Meantime, T. Boone may believe that Gundy could not have accomplished what he has without Pickens’ wallet. Both are right … and both are wrong.
That’s how it usually is with two major egos keep clashing.
But as the rumors start to, once again, fly, don’t buy ’em. Do I think Mike Gundy could one day leave Stillwater? I do. He’s only 50 years old, relatively young by coaching standards. And I think sometimes people need new challenges, especially when their egos get bruised continually.
But the idea that Gundy would leave for a bottom tier SEC West job like Arkansas is laughable. The man isn’t stupid. The in-state recruiting is limited, the facilities aren’t better than what Oklahoma State has, and you have to get by Nick Saban and Alabama ever year. No thanks!
Might Gundy in a year or two, or down the road, decide he wants to give something else a shot? I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but I would say its possible.
But the situation would have to be right. It would have to be perfect. If Texas A&M came calling? Yep. I could see it. He gets a program with massive resources, an enormous brand nad fan base, along with playing in the SEC, while still getting to recruit Texas, which is where Gundy makes a living. That may be the only job he believes he could truly compete with the blue bloods.
Alabama post-Saban? Sure. I could see that. It’d be following in the steps of a legend, but no doubt the program would be in unbelievable shape.
Arkansas? Please. Fat chance.
Oklahoma State may no longer be his “New York Yankees job” as Gundy once called it, but he’s no fool.