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Oklahoma State Football

Watch: Mike Gundy Honors John Smith Ahead of Tuesday's Practice

April 16, 2024

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy met with the media on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the start of practice. Robert Allen will have a more in-depth article on what Gundy and players said, as well as an exclusive practice report, which will come later Tuesday evening.

While you can watch the full availability above, which Gundy discussed at length the improvement of the tight ends and offensive line amongst other things, the quotes I’m going to include in this piece will be about John Smith.

Oklahoma State held a retirement press conference for Smith on Monday morning, who retired after 33 years as the head coach of the Cowboys. If you combine all the time Smith spent on campus from the time he was 10 years old to now, it spans nearly 50 years. So, there’s no one more Oklahoma State than John Smith.

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“So, I was thinking the other day, I don’t know when they started on his statue, but it should’ve been a while back,” Gundy said of John Smith. “I don’t think we’ve ever had anybody at this university that’s been the best they’ve done in the world for seven years. He was the best in the world at what he did for seven years. That’s pretty amazing. Now, Barry Sanders was for one year, I agree with that, but John was the best at what he did in the world for six or seven years. Two Olympic golds, obviously, won 150 matches here, which it still the record, and he was the head coach for 33 years. So, there’s nobody on this campus that deserves a statue more than him. The only debate is do you make it of him as a wrestler or as a coach? I say you make it a collage and do both.”

There’s the funny video of Gundy wearing an OSU singlet urging people to attend the dual against Penn State. Well, as many people know, Mike was a decent wrestler growing up. But what some people might not know is that he used to travel with John across the country in the summer wrestling. 

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“So, John and I traveled in summers and did freestyle wrestling,” said Gundy. “We made some trips around the country, to Kansas, we wrestled up in Boulder [Colorado]. I would’ve been about 10 or 12, John about 14, somewhere in that area. Everywhere we went, people knew who John Smith was. There were about three or four of us that traveled together in the summers wrestling. The rest of us were fighting for our lives and [everyone] knew who John was.”

Gundy and Cowboy football has had a lot of success in the past 10-15 years and hopefully that continues as football revenue helps drive the athletic department. But there’s nothing more fitting than John Smith getting honored right off the bat.

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Watch: Mike Gundy Honors John Smith Ahead of Tuesday's Practice

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