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Oklahoma State Football

Aftermatch of Leadership Trio Being at Big 12 Media Days Together

July 18, 2021
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Most of the media’s questions are concluded and the flight back to Stillwater was coming up shortly as I spoke with Mike Gundy by the water and soft drinks station on the field at AT&T Stadium during Big 12 Football Media Days. Gundy said something that resonated.

“Robert, do you know that I just had a President and an athletic director do more for me today than I’ve had in 16-years at Oklahoma State?”

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Gundy was relaxed at Media Days.

I know, my first thought was, ‘wait a second, Mike Holder got Boone Pickens to make the largest donation ever to an athletic department and a major part of it was that stadium your team plays in.’

Gundy gets that, but his thought process was more emotional. New Oklahoma State University President Dr. Kayse Shrum and new athletic director Chad Weiberg were there to show support for Gundy.

Both Shrum and Weiberg spoke of Gundy’s successful record (137-67 and 83-55 in the Big 12), his success without having any NCAA issues, his team’s academic and graduation success, and the lack of off the field issues that become an embarrassment for schools.

Twitter (@kinseymaelee)
President Shrum takes a pcture with recent OSU grad and KXII-TV sportscaster Kinsey Lee.

When asked by one media member about Gundy’s situation last summer regarding the (OAN) t-shirt and talk of disconnect between Gundy and his players, Shrum had a simple response.

“I wasn’t President then,” Dr. Shrum said. “I don’t know the details about it. My relationships are built looking ahead through the windshield and not concentrating on the rearview mirror.”

Weiberg echoed Shrum in saying he has worked with Mike Gundy for years and now looks forward to working with him at an elevated level as athletic director.

Gundy has shown that given support and even without verbal encouragement that he is a grinder, puts his head down, focuses his program, and they achieve at a high level. Imagine, having a leadership team working with you that will see some areas to help the program. We believe that recruiting budget, correcting the recent contract issue for both Gundy and the vast majority of his assistant coaches, and taking care of some support staff that had elevated roles without the salary that came with it.

Those are gradually happening. It will take some time as Dr. Shrum and Weiberg acclimate into their new positions.

A big part of it that you should never take for granted is the listening, understanding, and just communicating on a regular basis.  

“I've had some conversations with Dr.Shrum. I'm looking forward to having many more,” Gundy told the media at the Big 12 Football Media Days. “You guys know me; I'm going to give you my honest opinion. I think she's very innovative. I think that she is a good listener. I think she's tough. And I think that she's going to be fantastic for Oklahoma State. Only time will tell, but the time that I've spent with her, I think that she and I had the ability to see eye to eye. And we'll work very well in the future.

“Obviously, Chad Weiberg has been in our department a

number of years, but he's not been the guy in charge. It's just the way it is. He now is in charge. I'm very excited about that,” Gundy continued. “And I think that we have three people that are very interested in coming together as a group and finding ways to continue Oklahoma State football in the path that it's been on and make it even better than it has been in the future.

That is a very good sign. A sign that will help the athletic department and the University as a whole. Because it is still true that a strong and prosperous football program leads to a lot of other success.

Weiberg told me in Arlington that football season tickets truly are ahead of pace from 2019 and 2020. They need to be as getting that revenue stream back up will really help coming out of the ticket revenue shortfall from the pandemic.

“Honestly, Robert it was not as severe as we expected,” Weiberg told me when I asked and mentioned that Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby had reported on roughly $35-million payouts from the conference to schools for the past fiscal year. “We do want to try and keep the damage as short term as possible. We don’t want the pandemic to still be impacting our department and programs years down the road.”

I do trust Weiberg to navigate that and I believe his senior staff such as Kevin Klintworth, Larry Reece, Kevin Fite, and new addition and deputy athletic director Reid Sigmon will help greatly. It’s an important time, and a good time to have everybody on the same page. That seemed evident down in Arlington at Big 12 Football Media Days.

Discussion from...

Aftermatch of Leadership Trio Being at Big 12 Media Days Together

521 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by CaliforniaCowboy
Orangeheart72
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Hard to fathom past issues from a distance, but hope this is correct and good things follow.
CaliforniaCowboy
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what a very bizarre article....

... at least spill the beans on who the jerk was that brought up Gundy's politics again....
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