Mike Gundy, at the ripe old age of 55, is set to take Oklahoma State into his 18th season at the helm, and from the sound of things, he won’t be done anytime soon.
During a weekly press conference on Thursday, Gundy took some time to reflect a bit on his time at Oklahoma State, and even got into his thoughts on retirement when asked if he’d thought about his 150th career win, which would come with a victory over Central Michigan.
“I really haven’t,” Gundy said when asked if he’d thought about his 150th career win. “We’ve been very fortunate here to have a lot of success. Knock on wood, I feel better now than I have in years and years here. I’m thinking way down the line. I mean, I thought one time at 65 about checking in. I don’t see that happening now if I feel good. So, the next one doesn’t really do jack for me, honestly. It doesn’t, and I can tell you it did, but I’m worried about way down the line and trying to work with the commissioner and work with Dr. (Kayse) Shrum and Chad (Weiberg) and Reid (Sigmon) and our Board of Regents. We’re all tugging one direction now. And to try to build this to where at some point somebody’s going to take it over, and it’s gonna be a hell of a job. That’s my goal right now, not necessarily the one more win. But I’d like to win Thursday, I’m gonna be honest with you.”
In his 18 years with the program, Gundy has built one of the most consistent and successful programs in the country over the last two decades. In every year since 2006, the Pokes have been to a bowl game. That is good for the sixth-longest streak in the country.
“I’m old enough now to reflect back and at least enjoy part of what I do,” Gundy said. “I’m just about to become an empty-nester, so that makes me sad every day. So, I reflect on that. I reflect on the job. I reflect on where we started. I’ve said this, and I don’t want to get into a long drawn-out deal, but I had this discussion the other day with Doug Gottlieb on the radio, from where we started when Coach (Les) Miles took that job [at LSU] to where we are now, I do reflect back on the success that we’ve had to build what we have here now for a Saturday game day that we can all be proud of. That to me, I get satisfaction out of it.”
When he was asked to see if he could see himself coaching past the age of 65, Gundy had quite the lengthy, interesting answer.
“I hope so,” Gundy answered. “I mean, I want to stay healthy. I mean, I feel good. We have a big staff ow. I don’t really do anything anymore. Honestly, I don’t. Gage, my 17-year-old, he comes in all the time and he sees me in my desk, usually I’m thinking, and he says, ‘You don’t do anything. What do you do? You just sit there.’ And I say, ‘Well, believe it or not, they pay me to think, so I’m thinking.’ Our staffs are so big now that everybody has responsibility and not many coaches leave us because it’s a great place to live and I’m a great person to work for, so I don’t really have to do much. Like, I could not have a staff meeting for a week and the thing would flow like normal. It wasn’t that way for 10 years for two reasons. One, I was out of control, and I was all over the place bouncing everywhere. And two, we had coaches leaving all the time. Then Coach (Mike) Holder said, ‘Hey, we’re stopping this. We’re doing long-term assistant coaches contracts,’ when nobody in the country did it. We were a trendsetter there. We stopped coaches leaving, except for (Joe) Wickline. Then coaches stay, place runs itself now.
“Most of the people that are in a director position for me, there’s been eight of them, they’ve been with me a long time. So, I don’t have to do much anymore. I just get to sit back and enjoy it, and I’ve also got to the point where I understand the journey and what it takes to get to the game Thursday night and be appreciative of that side of it moreso than actually what happens out there. And I know people say, ‘That’s crazy. You don’t want to win.’ Nobody wants to win for me, but I enjoy the journey. I enjoy watching Kendal Daniels. I enjoy watching Trace Ford rally back. I’ve enjoyed watching Spencer Sanders and what he’s gone through, so on and so forth. I’m happy. I enjoy that. I love watching the players. I tell the team, I told them the other day, ‘Look, the fun part for me is just getting started because I just get to stand here and watch you guys play. And I don’t really get real emotional because I’m proud of you.’ People will say, ‘Why aren’t you showing emotions?’ Because I don’t know. I just don’t know what to do. What do you want me to do? Jump up and down? That’s not who I am. I just like watching the game. And so I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy with the organization, and I’m happy with the direction this university and administration is going.”