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Boynton Says He Doesn’t ‘Have Any Reason to Believe’ He Won’t Be Back Next Season

‘If I’m fortunate to be back, and I don’t have any reason to believe I won’t.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — The Cowboys’ disappointing 2023-24 season is likely less than a week from ending, and heading into their regular season finale, Mike Boynton said he has no reason to believe that he won’t be back for an eighth year in charge.

Boynton’s job status has been a highly discussed topic on social media among the fanbase the past few months. Oklahoma State is 12-18 this season and would need to win the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City to make the NCAA Tournament. With a game against BYU on Saturday, the best the Cowboys can finish in the Big 12 standings is 13th of 14 teams. A loss in Provo and a West Virginia win at Cincinnati would see the Cowboys finish bottom of the Big 12.

Boynton met with the media Thursday, where PFB asked if — because of the transfer portal’s impact — he moves discussions with players about next season up. He said he does and hit on the topic of his job status moving forward.

“We need to be a Tournament team [next season],” Boynton said. “We need to be a team that’s not even fighting at this point to get in. That’s gotta be priority No. 1 for everybody associated with our program, starting with me, but every player, every staff member, every [graduate assistant]. I want that to be the mindset of our administration.

“If I’m fortunate to be back, and I don’t have any reason to believe I won’t. I’m not trying to speculate, but I know that’s a question. I don’t want to pretend like it’s not.”

PFB followed up with a question about whether Boynton has discussed the topic with Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg.

“I have conversations with Chad all the time,” Boynton said. “We’ve never had a discussion about my job status in the middle of the season. We’re at the end; I don’t expect to have a conversation like that before the end of, whatever, next week.”

The Cowboys have made one NCAA Tournament under Boynton with a few other close calls.

In his first year, the Cowboys were left out of the Big Dance despite sweeping Big 12 champ Kansas in the regular season and being one of four teams to finish Big 12 play at 8-10 — two got in, two didn’t. That OSU team beat the Trae Young-led Sooners (another team that was 8-10 in league play) in two of three meetings and had a better overall record than OU, but the Sooners got the in.

Boynton’s 2021-22 squad was barred from the NCAA Tournament following sanctions from the FBI’s probe into college basketball. That squad finished the season 8-10 in Big 12 play but would have likely needed to do more to be a sure-thing Tournament team. It’s also tough to say what effects knowing making the Tournament was impossible had on that squad.

Then last season the Cowboys were team No. 69 of the 68-team field.

Those examples are some thin margins. So, how does OSU go from this disappointing season to a no-doubt Tournament team in 2025? Boynton said he will first look inward.

“The very first thing is I’ve got to grow as a coach,” Boynton said. “I think sometimes when I talk about other things, it sort of feels like there’s a deflection from we’ve had games where we’ve had leads and not closed them, we’ve had games where maybe we didn’t shoot the ball as well and didn’t find another way to win. Those are things that I’ll evaluate before I talk about anything a player has to do.”

OSU’s current roster is young but promising. True freshmen have accounted for 36% of the Cowboys’ minutes thus far this season. Add sophomore Quion Williams to that, and underclassmen have accounted for 50% of the Cowboys’ minutes.

In February, Boynton also discussed OSU Basketball’s struggles in the NIL landscape, saying six Big 12 programs operate with more than $2 million in NIL resources and another three or four between $1 million and $2 million. He said OSU is operating with about $500,000. One of his big points in bringing that up seemed to be the importance of being able to retain players, something that would be especially important with his young talent this season.

The hope for Boynton and Co. is that they can keep that young core together, keep junior point guard Javon Small around and perhaps get Bryce Thompson back should Thompson elect to use his extra season. Pair those pieces with some new pieces, likely via the portal, and OSU should be in better positioning come next season. That is, assuming Boynton is the coach in 2024-25.

“At the end of the day, my job is to try put our team in a position to win as many games as we can,” Boynton said. “I don’t have any control over the ultimate outcome. So, I’m aware of it, but I’m not focused on it, if that makes sense. I’ve got a family, right? It’s kind of a natural deal. There’s an element to making sure that you consider how it impacts my 11-year-old, who’s at an age where people talk about these things. We’re in a small community. There’s not a whole lot of places where he probably goes where he doesn’t hear about his dad somewhere along the lines. I’ve got an 8-year-old daughter, who is getting close to that age. It’s a real thing.

“I’m not trying to predict anything. My expectation is I’m going to continue to work as hard to do what I’m supposed to do for the program until I’m told otherwise.”

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