After meeting with Tennessee, Gundy will stay at OSU

Coach Mike Gundy is staying at Oklahoma State University.

For now.

With a wave of college coaches getting fired, Gundy and his remarkable record at OSU has drawn a lot of interest from big name schools. Former OSU head coach Pat Jones reported that Gundy was offered the job at Florida and there were reports that Gundy met with officials from Tennessee and was offered that job.

Reports say Gundy met with Tennessee athletic director John Currie in Dallas on November 28. After that meeting, Gundy tweeted, “Cowboy For Life!”

Gundy has been a big part of the Cowboy football program 27 of the past 32 years as a player, assistant coach and now head coach. He is the winningest coach (113 wins) in OSU history.

College football insider Brett McMurphy said the Volunteers offered Gundy a six-year, $42 million contract. Other reports say Tennessee legend Peyton Manning personally called Gundy to ask him to take the job. Gundy has a five-year, $22 million contract with OSU that he signed earlier this year.

The Tennessee offer potentially could have made Gundy the fourth highest paid coach in the nation, behind only Nick Saban of Alabama, Dabo Swinney of Clemson and Jim Harbaugh of Michigan.

It would have marked a substantial raise over the five-year, $22.25 million contract Gundy and OSU agreed upon this past summer. Gundy received a rasie this week and will make over $5 million a year..

In 2012, Gundy was a serious candidate for the Tennessee job and his name was mentioned for the vacancy in Arkansas. Gundy stayed at OSU while Tennessee hired Butch Jones. Gundy parlayed those negotiations to get better financial packages for his assistants at OSU.

While the regular season has ended for Oklahoma State (9-3; 6-3 Big 12), they are one of only four schools that have been included in every set of CFP rankings since the beginning of 2015. The other three schools are Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.

What about Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery?

In 2016, Montgomery led TU to a 10-3 record and beat Central Michigan (which beat OSU in the regular season) in the Miami Beach Bowl. In his inaugural season in 2015, he went 6-7 and lost to Virginia Tech in the Independence Bowl. Tulsa’s offense also established NCAA history in 2016, becoming the first team in FBS/DI with a 3,000-yard passer (Dane Evans), two 1,000-yard rushers (James Flanders and D’Angelo Brewer) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson).

This year, with Evans gone, Tulsa went 2-10 and wound up in last placed in the American Athletic Conference.

No one is talking about getting rid of Montgomery. If TU were to let him go, who could they get that was a better coach, especially since they are so many Power 5 Conference schools scrambling for head coaches?

Montgomery tried to explain the reasons for the drop-off this year.“I don’t know that you can categorize it into one thing, with all the injuries that we had, all the young guys that we played, all the different line ups that we put in the game,” Montgomery said. “You know, right now it’s probably pretty tough to kind of look back and reflect on the entirety of the year. But you know, we’ve faced a lot of adversity, and I don’t have the magic solution to it right now. I need some time to kind of sit and recapture and go through all of it. You know, we got better in some areas. We’ve got to get better in a lot more areas, but we’ve got to continue to just keep growing, and the young guys have got to continue to keep maturing in this process.”

Recruiting has to improve.

“The junior college route, that’s an answer for a lot of places; it’s not always the answer here,” Montgomery said. “So you’ve got to find the right fit for guys, and that makes it a little more difficult, but that being said, we’re on some really good kids. We’ve got a good class started, and right now it’s all about recruiting and getting prepared for next year.”

Montgomery was asked if he learned lessons from this season’s adversity.

“Yeah, if I haven’t, I’m in trouble,” Montgomery said. “Whether we win or lose or what happens, every day if you’re not trying to learn something, if you’re not trying to take steps forward, then you’re always taking steps back. You can’t lose ground from that standpoint, and so we’ve learned a lot of things from this season. We’ll continue to learn each and every day that we’re in it. Obviously there’s some things that we’ve got to do differently, got to approach differently, and we’ve got a little bit of time right here to try to make a lot of corrections and get some things straight and get back on the right track.”

His players believe in their coach.

“I don’t think that there is a better guy out there that you can find,” said TU defensive end Jesse Brubaker. “He is a class act, he is the same around me as he is around you, and he doesn’t change. He wears one mask and that is his.  He is a great man and everything he is preaching outside to you all he is really preaching internally to this team. I have the upmost respect for him and I am very glad to be a part of a program that he coached.”

“He came into this university and flipped the entire coaching,” said running back D’Angelo Brewer. “He changed the way I look at football as a running back. Freshman year, I couldn’t tell you what anyone was doing and I was just thinking about running. Coach came in and made sure we were in tune with everything that was going on. I appreciate him for all of that and how he approaches every day and every game.”

Here are some other universities that have fired their head football coaches:

  • Coach Kevin Sumlin had a six-year record at Texas A&M of 51-26. Texas A&M owes him a $10 million buyout due in 60 days from firing and it isn’t affected if he takes another job (which he undoubtedly will). Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher resigned to take the A&M job.
  • Former Tulsa coach Todd Graham was fired at Arizona State even though he beat in-state rival Arizona this season. ASU went 7-5 and 6-3 in the Pac-12. Graham was 46-31 in six seasons. Former NFL coach Herm Edwards was hired.
  • Bret Bielema was fired at Arkansas. The Razorbacks (4-8, 1-7 in the SEC) would love to hire Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who was a record-setting high school coach years ago in Northwest Arkansas. But Auburn’s success may deter any change of him leaving for Arkansas.
  • Jim McElwain was fired at Florida (4-7, 3-5 in the SEC) and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was hired to replace him. Mullen was 69-46 at MSU and was the second winningest coach in school history. He was offensive coordinator under Head Coach Urban Meyer at Florida and coached national championship teams in 2006 and 2008.
  • Tyson Summers was fired at Georgia Southern.
  • Mike Riley was fired at Nebraska (4-8, 3-6 in the Big Ten). Former Husker quarterback Scott Frost was hired.
  • Hugh Freeze was let go at Mississippi (6-6, 3-5 in the SEC).
  • Gary Anderson was dismissed at Oregon State (1-11, 0-9 in the Pac-12). They hired Washington co-offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith.
  • Joey Jones was fired at South Alabama (4-7, 3-4 in the Sun Belt).
  • Butch Jones was fired at Tennessee (4-8, 0-8 in the SEC). The Volunteers reportedly tried to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Tennessee fans claimed Schiano had a connection to the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. Schiano denied any knowledge of what was going on but he is staying at Ohio State.
  • Jim Mora was fired at UCLA (6-6, 4-5 in the Pac-12) and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly was hired. Kelly previously coached in the NFL at Philadelphia and San Francisco.
  • Sean Kugler was fired at UTEP (0-12, 0-8 in C-USA).