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Mike Gundy is Underrated



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Brock Huard wrote a cool article for ESPN Insider today about how Chris Peterson, Paul Johnson, and Mike Gundy are three of the most underrated coaches in the country. If you don’t have Insider (or don’t feel like reading the whole thing) I’ve pulled most of the Gundy-specific stuff for you…

Huard points out that Gundy is kind of in a bad spot in that Boone gets the credit if OSU wins and Gundy gets the blame if they lose. He’s done a great job wriggling free from that over the last few years:

OSU booster T. Boone Pickens seems to get more attention than this now 40-plus-year-old man, but those who study the tape understand that oil money doesn’t teach the speed and fundamentals central to the Cowboys’ success.

I’m not sure anyone recognized it at the time, and maybe he’s just gotten lucky, but Gundy’s vision for the program aligned beautifully with Boone’s venture capitalism. They were made for each other: the boistrous, wealthy benefactor and the quieter, self-aware leader of this program.

For the same reason Fortune 500 companies spend immense capital to create clear and concise business plans, if you can’t define your head coach’s conviction and philosophy in one sentence, there is a problem.

Let me take a stab: “play fast, outscore everyone, and do it the right way.” Does that sum it up?

Boise has never had a top-25 class, Johnson hasn’t had one since coming to Tech, and Gundy has reeled in just one in his last five (No. 23 in 2011), so it’s been imperative and a necessity for all three of these programs to recruit to their philosophies and physically develop their athletes once they arrive on campus.

Even the Cowboys’ Justin Blackmon, a sure-fire top-10 NFL draft pick in April (and the Biletnikoff Award winner last season) was a three-star recruit who took three years to develop into the man-child he is now.

This is actually something that works to Gundy’s advantage. He’s in a position now where he’s getting a handful of four and five stars but the majority are two or three stars who have chips on their shoulders because some dude with a login and password didn’t think they were good as 17-year olds.

Those are the types of players Eddie used to get in the mid-90s and one of the reasons OSU was so good at the time.

It may very well be an advantage for these three coaches that they are forced to recruit players to specifically fit their system. The coaches know the players’ strengths, which makes developing specific roles a seamless process.

Gotta disagree here, Brock. Gundy adapts to his skill players’ strengths. It goes hand in hand with getting those guys who weren’t necessarily all-stars in high school and it’s one of my favorite things about Gundy. You take what you can get when you’re Oklahoma State and Gundy’s heady enough to be fluid in how he runs his systems but not arrogant enough to think his way is the only way.

Or so says that 39-14 record in his last 53 games.

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