Fiesta Bowl Press Conference with Mike Gundy head coach of Oklahoma State Cowboys

Mike Gundy
Fiesta Bowl 2021 Oklahoma State vs Notre Dame Mike Gundy Okla State HC 12 2021.mp3


Evidence of Oklahoma State’s rise to prominence on both the Big 12 and national levels during Mike Gundy’s tenure as head coach is everywhere. Consider the following:

• Since 2010, Oklahoma State has six seasons with at least 10 wins, an outright Big 12 title (2011) and a share of the Big 12 South title (2010). The Cowboys reached the top 10 of the Associated Press poll in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020.

• Gundy has coached the Cowboys to four New Year’s Six bowl games since 2010. The Pokes appeared in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the 2014 Cotton Bowl and the 2016 Sugar Bowl.

• Oklahoma State is one of only seven teams to post a winning season every year from 2010-20, joining Alabama, Boise State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Washington and Wisconsin. It is one of only three teams with winning seasons each of the past 15 years, joined by Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

• Entering the 2021 season, Oklahoma State has been ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll in 11 of the past 13 seasons and has posted 10-win seasons six of the past 11 years.

• The Cowboys have averaged 9.2 wins per year since 2010, a mark that ranks 12th in the FBS during that span.

• Gundy has led the Cowboys to a 64-33 record against Big 12 opposition since 2010, a mark that is good for second-best in the conference during that span. His 83 career wins in Big 12 games ranks fourth in the history of the conference, trailing only Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Bill Snyder on the all-time chart.

• OSU has scored eight victories over teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10 since 2008. Gundy has 31 career wins vs. AP Top 25 opponents. Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney are the only other active coaches with 30 wins over AP Top 25 teams at their current schools.

• Since 2010, the Cowboys have averaged 39.2 points and 488.6 yards of total offense per game. Oklahoma State has ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense six times during Gundy’s tenure as head coach and has ranked in the top 10 nationally in total offense seven times. The Cowboys led the nation in turnover margin in 2011 and have ranked in the top 10 nationally in that category four times since the start of the 2011 season.

• OSU’s current streak of 15 straight bowl games and 15 straight winning seasons is the best in the history of the program. The bowl streak is the seventh-longest active streak in the nation.

• Gundy ranks fifth among all active head coaches with 137 wins at his current school.

• 27 Gundy-era Cowboys have been drafted into the NFL, with six chosen in the first round.

• Just since 2017, Gundy has coached the leading passer in the FBS (Mason Rudolph in 2017), the leading receiver in the FBS (James Washington in 2017) and the leading rusher in the FBS (Chuba Hubbard in 2019).

• Gundy’s coaching tree has blossomed. Former Gundy assistants include Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen, UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo, Texas State head coach Jake Spavital, Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken and former North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora. Other notable former Gundy assistants include UMass head coach Walt Bell, Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson, Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker, Indiana safeties coach Jason Jones, Missouri running backs coach Curtis Luper, Philadelphia Eagles assistant head coach and running backs coach Jemal Singleton and Louisville wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer, among several others.

• OSU has also excelled in the classroom during Mike Gundy’s tenure as head coach. In 2018, Oklahoma State was one of only five FBS programs to earn the AFCA’s Academic Achievement Award. Cowboy football posted a perfect score of 1,000 on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) that same year. Also in 2018, the Cowboys led the Big 12 and set a program record with 26 overall Academic All-Big 12 selections. In the APR data released in 2019, OSU ranked second in the Big 12 with a multi-year APR rate of 982, a mark that ranks as the best for OSU since the NCAA began its tracking. Most rcently in 2020, Oklahoma State set a league football record with 28 first-team selections to the Academic All-Big 12 team and a school record with 43 total selections.


Mike Gundy is a true Cowboy.

He has spent more than half of his life either quarterbacking or coaching at Oklahoma State and is the head coach presiding over the era of greatest sustained success in the history of the program.

What he has done at Oklahoma State is remarkable. When he took over as head coach in 2005, the OSU football program had an all-time record of 473-492-47 (49.1 pct.). With Gundy at the helm, OSU is 137-67-0 (67.2 pct.). Oklahoma State had 16 bowl appearances in its 104-year history prior to Gundy, but with him as head coach, the Cowboys have made 15 bowl appearances in 16 years, only missing one his first year in 2005.

He didn’t take over a program known for consistent success, but Oklahoma State has indeed become a powerful program under his watch. How did it happen?

There are a number of key factors in the Cowboys’ rise to prominence, but one of the most notable is that Gundy identified and executed a blueprint for success at Oklahoma State that starts with the culture and people and extends into success on the field.

The Cowboy Culture
What’s interesting about Gundy’s “Cowboy Culture” is that Gundy readily admits that in his early years as coach, he didn’t have a name for it and wasn’t strategically plotting a path that led to it. He just consistently made decisions based on what he thought was the right thing to do and empowered others to do the same.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the words “Cowboy Culture” began popping up around the football facility in Boone Pickens Stadium.

The signs that now hang on the walls there highlight concepts that Gundy places a high value on, such as controlling the things that you can control and being respectful to others. They celebrate foundational traits such as effort, focus, toughness and leadership. They remind passers-by to never show fear, frustration or fatigue.

While the Cowboy Culture reveals itself in on-field success, it also shows up off the field, most notably in the area of academics.

Take into consideration that through the fall of 2020, 354 Gundy-era players have graduated from Oklahoma State and that the Cowboy football program posted a perfect score of 1,000 on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2018. Additionally, OSU football’s multi-year APR rate of 982 that was announced in 2019 represented the highest it has achieved since the APR was implemented in 2003. OSU’s 2020 multi-year APR rate of 979 was its second-highest ever and tied for the Big 12 lead.

The Cowboys led the Big 12 and set a program record with 20 first-team Academic All-Big 12 selections in 2017, then followed that up with a conference-best and school-record 26 overall Academic All-Big 12 honorees in 2018 and 20 honorees again in 2019. Oklahoma State followed that up in 2020 by setting a league football record with 28 first-team selections and a school record with 43 total selections.

In 2017, three Cowboys – running back Justice Hill, center Brad Lundblade and fullback Britton Abbott – earned spots on the CoSIDA Academic All-America team and both Abbott and Hill repeated in 2018. During Gundy’s time as head coach at Oklahoma State, his players have received CoSIDA Academic All-America honors eight times and CoSIDA Academic All-District honors 10 times.

In addition to the academic recognition from CoSIDA, Lundblade was one of 10 finalists for the 2017 National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy, which is also known as the Academic Heisman. He was also one of only three student-athletes who represented the Big 12 Conference on the NCAA Autonomy Governance Committee in 2017.

It’s hard to instill a culture that produces that kind of fruit in a short period of time, so Gundy’s longevity and staying power have both factored into OSU’s success.

Gundy is the third-longest tenured coach at his active school in the FBS, trailing only Kirk Ferentz at Iowa and Gary Patterson at TCU. His 83 career wins in Big 12 Conference games ranks fourth in the history of the league, trailing only Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Bill Snyder.

On the Field
Of course, college football is a tough business in which longevity and staying power are hard to come by for coaches who don’t win games, but Gundy is indeed a winner. He coached the Cowboys to the 2011 Big 12 championship and has posted six 10-win seasons. Gundy has coached Oklahoma State to four bowl games now referred to as the New Year’s Six since 2010 (2010 Cotton Bowl, 2012 Fiesta Bowl, 2014 Cotton Bowl and 2016 Sugar Bowl) and has led the Cowboys to bowl games and winning records in 15 consecutive seasons – both school records.

Included among his career coaching accolades are 2011 National Coach of the Year, 2010 Big 12 Coach of the Year and 2015 AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year.

Signature traits of Gundy’s best Cowboy teams have varied slightly over the years, but in general terms, the recurring themes include elite-level offense, an appetite for turnovers on defense and outstanding work in the kicking game.

From an offensive perspective, the Cowboys have averaged 39.17 points per game since 2010, a mark that ranks fifth in the FBS. During that same time span, OSU also ranks in the top five nationally in total offense per game (fifth – 488.80 yards per game) and passing yards per game (third – 312.19 yards per game). OSU is also sixth in the FBS in yards per play during that span, averaging 6.50.

The offensive talent that Gundy has coached at Oklahoma State during his tenure is remarkable. Receiver Justin Blackmon is one of only two players ever to win the Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation’s top receiver twice, as he accomplished the feat in 2010 and again in 2011. James Washington joined Blackmon in the Biletnikoff Award fraternity by winning the award in 2017 to make Oklahoma State the only school with three Biletnikoff Awards to its credit. Running back Chuba Hubbard was a unanimous All-American in 2019. Running back Kendall Hunter was a two-time consensus All-American. Quarterback Mason Rudolph won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was an All-American in 2017. Blackmon was an NFL first-round draft pick, as were tight end Brandon Pettigrew, offensive lineman Russell Okung, receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Brandon Weeden. Running back Chris Carson is a standout for the Seattle Seahawks and receiver Tyreek Hill is one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Just since 2017, Gundy has coached the leading passer in the FBS (Rudolph in 2017), the leading receiver in the FBS (Washington in 2017) and the leading rusher in the FBS (Hubbard in 2019).

Defensively, forcing turnovers has been the Cowboys’ signature trait of the Gundy era. Oklahoma State is fourth in the FBS with 272 turnovers forced since 2010. OSU ranked in the top 10 in the nation in turnovers forced in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The Cowboys have also taken their place among the nation’s best at winning at the line of scrimmage and defending on third down in recent years. OSU ranked among the FBS top 20 in tackles for loss per game in 2006, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020 and sacks per game in 2006, 2015, 2018 and 2020. OSU’s defense led the FBS in third down defense and defensive touchdowns in 2020.

Some of the most notable defensive players of the Gundy era include cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was an All-American in 2013 and also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award before being selected with the eighth pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who was a 2015 All-American and the 2015 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year before being chosen 32nd overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ogbah picked up a Super Bowl ring in 2020 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dynamic special teams have also factored into Gundy’s success. In fact, he spends much of his game-planning on special teams and is at his most vocal on the practice field during special teams periods. Matt Fodge won the Ray Guy Award presented to the nation’s top punter in 2008 and Dan Bailey won the Lou Groza Award presented to the nation’s top kicker in 2010. Quinn Sharp was an All-America punter in 2010 and an All-America kicker in 2011 and 2012. Return men have also thrived as part of Oklahoma State’s special teams, with Perrish Cox earning All-America honors in 2008, the same year that Dez Bryant was honored as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. Tyreek Hill was a first-team All-Big 12 return man in 2014 who has earned four Pro Bowl selections since moving on to the NFL and Zach Sinor led the nation in punts downed inside the 20 in 2016.

When looking at the Gundy era at Oklahoma State, it’s hard to find a position group that hasn’t produced big-time talent. A sampling:

Offensive Line
Russell Okung
• 2009 Outland Trophy finalist.
• 2009 unanimous All-American.
• 2009 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
• 2010 NFL first-round draft pick.
• Two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

Grant Garner
• 2011 All-American.
• 2011 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
• 2011 Rimington Award finalist.

Levy Adcock
• 2011 consensus All-American.

Lane Taylor
• 2012 first-team All-Big 12.
• Seven-year NFL veteran with the Green Bay Packers.

Marcus Keyes
• Two-time first-team All-Big 12 in 2017 and 2019.

Corey Hilliard
• 2006 first-team All-Big 12.

Parker Graham
• 2013 first-team All-Big 12.

Zach Crabtree
• 2017 first-team All-Big 12.

Brad Lundblade
• 2017 first-team All-Big 12.

Teven Jenkins
• 2020 first-team All-Big 12.
• High-level 2021 NFL Draft prospect.

Mason Rudolph
• 2017 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner.
• 2017 Davey O’Brien Award finalist.
• 2017 second-team All-American.

Brandon Weeden
• 2012 NFL first-round draft pick.
• 2010 first-team All-Big 12.

Running Back
Chuba Hubbard
• 2019 unanimous All-American.
• 2019 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award finalist.
• 2019 Doak Walker Award finalist.
• 2019 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
• 2019 first-team All-Big 12.

Kendall Hunter
• Two-time All-American.
• 2010 Doak Walker Award finalist.
• First-team All-Big 12 in both 2008 and 2010.

Justice Hill
• 2016 Freshman All-American.
• 2017 first-team All-Big 12.
• 2018 first-team All-Big 12.

Dantrell Savage
• 2007 first-team All-Big 12.

Keith Toston
• 2009 first-team All-Big 12.

Joseph Randle
• 2012 first-team All-Big 12.

Wide Receiver
Justin Blackmon
• Two-time Biletnikoff Award winner.
• Two-time unanimous All-American.
• NFL first-round draft pick.
• 2010 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

James Washington
• 2017 Biletnikoff Award winner.
• 2017 unanimous All-American.
• Two-time first-team All-Big 12.

Dez Bryant
• 2008 consensus All-American.
• 2008 Biletnikoff Award finalist.
• 2010 NFL first-round draft pick.
• Three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

Tylan Wallace
• 2018 Biletnikoff Award finalist.
• 2018 and 2020 All-American.
• 2018 and 2020 first-team All-Big 12.

Adarius Bowman
• 2006 first-team All-Big 12.

Josh Stewart
• 2012 first-team All-Big 12.

Cowboy Back/Tight End
Brandon Pettigrew
• 2009 NFL first-round draft pick.
• 2009 Mackey Award finalist.

Blake Jarwin
• 2015 first-team All-Big 12.

Bryant Ward
• 2010 first-team All-Big 12.

Defensive Line
Emmanuel Ogbah
• 2015 All-American.
• 2015 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
• 2015 Ted Hendricks Award finalist.
• The first pick of the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.
• 2014 Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year.
• First-team All-Big 12 in 2014 and 2015.
• Super Bowl champion in 2020.

Calvin Barnett
• First-team All-Big 12 in 2012 and 2013.

Jamie Blatnick
• 2011 first-team All-Big 12.

Vincent Taylor
• 2016 first-team All-Big 12.

DeQuinton Osborne
• 2017 first-team All-Big 12.

Jordan Brailford
• 2018 first-team All-Big 12.

Orie Lemon
• 2010 first-team All-Big 12.

Shaun Lewis
• 2013 first-team All-Big 12.

Justin Gilbert
• 2013 Thorpe Award finalist.
• 2013 consensus All-American.
• 2014 NFL first-round draft pick.

Perrish Cox
• 2009 first-team All-Big 12.

Andrew McGee
• 2010 first-team All-Big 12.

Brodrick Brown
• 2011 All-American.
• 2011 first-team All-Big 12.

Kevin Peterson
• 2015 first-team All-Big 12.

Markelle Martin
• 2011 All-American.
• 2011 first-team All-Big 12.

Jordan Sterns
• Two-time first-team All-Big 12 in 2015 and 2016.

Tre Flowers
• 2017 second-team All-American.
• 2017 first-team All-Big 12.

Kolby Harvell-Peel
• 2019 first-team All-Big 12.

Matt Fodge
• 2008 Ray Guy Award winner.

Dan Bailey
• 2010 Lou Groza Award winner.
• 2010 All-American.
• 2010 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
• 2016 NFL Pro Bowler.

Quinn Sharp
• 2010 All-America punter.
• 2011 All-America kicker.
• 2012 All-America kicker.
• Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

Perrish Cox
• 2008 All-America kick returner.

Dez Bryant
• 2008 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
• 2010 NFL first-round draft pick.
• Three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

Tyreek Hill
• 2014 First-Team All-Big 12 return man.
• Four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

Playing Days
Mike Gundy first arrived on the Oklahoma State campus in 1986 after a heavily-decorated prep career. He was a four-year starter at OSU from 1986-89 and led the Cowboys to a pair of bowl wins – the 1987 Sun Bowl over West Virginia and the 1988 Holiday Bowl over Wyoming. During those two seasons, OSU accumulated a 20-4 record.

Gundy ended his career as the Big Eight Conference’s all-time leader in passing and total offense. More than 20 years after his playing career, his name is still featured throughout the OSU record books. Most of his personal marks stood until Gundy assumed head coaching duties. He began his college career by throwing 138 passes before tossing his first career interception. That streak remained an NCAA record until 2008.

Coaching Career
After graduation, Gundy immediately joined the Oklahoma State football staff at the age of 23. He coached the receivers in 1990, the quarterbacks from 1991-1993 and in 1994, served as offensive coordinator during the final year for Gundy’s college coach, Pat Jones. Gundy coached in Stillwater under each of the three previous Cowboy head coaches (Jones, Bob Simmons and Les Miles).

He spent one season at Baylor (1996) as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator before heading to the ACC, where he coached at Maryland from 1997-2000. He returned to Stillwater in 2001 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, and he also coached OSU quarterbacks.

Gundy is just the third Oklahoma State graduate to assume the head coaching duties in Stillwater. Jim Lookabaugh (1939-49) and Floyd Gass (1969-71) were the others.

Gundy and his wife, Kristen (also an OSU graduate), have three children, Gavin, Gunnar and Gage.



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