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Oklahoma State Football

Mike Gundy Talks Meeting New Coaches in the Big 12 in Arizona

May 8, 2022
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STILLWATER – Mike Gundy was part of a contingent of Oklahoma State athletic department representatives that also included athletics director Chad Weiberg, senior women’s administrator Karen Hancock, men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton, and women’s basketball coach Jacie Hoyt that were in Scottsdale, Ariz. last week for the Big 12 spring meetings. The Pac-12 and at least four other conferences were there as well. The most critical issues in the Big 12 and in all of college sports were discussed. We hit on several of those in our first story with Coach Gundy after talking to him Thursday on my radio show on Triple Play Sports Radio.

With all of the future schools moving into the Big 12 represented as well; BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston; along with Oklahoma and Texas it was a crowded meeting room. Gundy told me one of the aspects of the meetings he enjoyed was meeting the new coaches.

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake.

“Kalani was a really nice guy,” Gundy said of the BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “I spent a lot of time talking to him. He is really tied into Beni (Tonga) on our staff. They are related and how they are all related I don’t know. I don’t know if it is legally related, or they are all related somehow. Great guy. (Gus) Malzahn wasn’t there, and I was looking forward to him to visit with him a little bit. You know he is a fast-paced offensive guy like we are. I think he does a really good job.

“Fickell showed up the second day,” Gundy continued. “He had a commitment the first day. He is a good guy but doesn’t talk much. He is pretty reserved.”

Gundy said he also met more of the representatives from the new schools. Gundy has been a supporter, a staunch supporter of BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston coming into the conference. He has been very consistent with his thoughts on this. He was glad to see the excitement flowing both ways.

“I met the new ADs (athletic directors) from the new schools in the conference. They are super excited about being in our league,” Gundy added with excitement in his voice. “In the end they are good programs and the coaches in our league, unlike what you here in the SEC we all get along. We can sit at a table and have discussions and come up with answers. There are times we can’t come up with answers based on administrative people being in there. I’m not going to throw anybody under the bus. They think differently than we do. Our coaches get along and they want to do what’s right for the student-athletes and make quality decisions.”

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A huge family for the next several academic years.

The coaches, in all sports, were left with one major decision that will be made soon. The arrival of BYU next season and now Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston so close to negotiating an early departure from the AAC means along with Texas and Oklahoma staying the Big 12 will be ballooned to 14 teams. The old NCAA rule was automatic divisions, but that appears to be an option now. The athletic directors and conference officials pushed the agenda t the coaches.

“The next big one is do we want divisions? We’re going to have 12 or 14 teams. Do we want round-robin or divisions? They threw that out because that decision is going to have to be made fairly soon in the next few months,” Gundy continued. “It is a complicated system getting a schedule. My only suggestion I don’t want the format with the 14 teams to be different than what we decide to do in the future. If we decide to go round-robin, we do that, and then don’t change to divisions because that makes it look like we didn’t have a plan. Let’s make the decision and stay with it.”

There was time for some social. The Big Ten was out there as well and that allowed Mike Gundy to catch up with a former fellow assistant. We didn’t mention earlier in the story, but Gundy has a previous relationship with one of the new coaches coming into the Big 12.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Gundy with Dana Holgorsen back when he was at West Virginia.

“Of course, Dana, it gave me a good chance to visit with him and hang out with him a little after the meetings,” Gundy said. “You know what’s funny? People get a kick out of this Bob Stoops is still there. I was sitting with him, Dana, and Mike Locksley after the first day of meetings in the restaurant. Mike Locksley and I were together four-years at Maryland, really good friends. Once we left, we didn’t keep up with each other, you don’t, and he and I spent a lot of time together when we were at Maryland in our late twenties. People would come up and ask Bob, ‘what are you doing here?’ Bob would say, ‘I don’t know they keep inviting me and send me a plane ticket and a hotel reservation and it’s three or four free days in Arizona at a nice resort, so I just keep coming.’ For whatever reason, he keeps getting invited and he and I have known each other forever. It was a good chance to catch up with them.”

Yes, this springs’ Big 12 meetings accomplished a lot and covered a lot of ground. The Big 12 has lots of ground to cover with much more still ahead.   

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Mike Gundy Talks Meeting New Coaches in the Big 12 in Arizona

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