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Mike Gundy – Paper Stacker

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Photo Attribution: KT King

The king of Oklahoma State’s audacious, and might I add lavish, football kingdom is coming off his second straight uber-successful campaign and is now about to partake in all the spoils and loot that come with being on top.

It’s tasty, isn’t it Mike?

Both the Oklahoman and the Tulsa World are reporting that Gundy’s new eight year contract will be cashed in for upwards of $3.7M a year.

That’s a long way from the $700,000 he was making when he first took over in Stillwater.

In fact, he’s now (most likely) the 7th highest paid coach in the country, behind only the following people:

Mack Brown – $5.1M
Nick Saban – $4.7M
Bob Stoops – $4.1M
Urban Meyer – $4M
Les Miles – $3.9M
Kirk Ferentz – $3.8M
Mike Gundy – $3.7M (allegedly)

I can’t believe Miles will be under $4M for much longer after the season he’s had this year. In fact, I would bet all of my paychecks until football starts again that Miles is making more than 4 mil a year when LSU takes the field for the first time in September.

The black cloud hanging over all of this is that in college sports so often monetary compensation out-eseclates on-the-field success. And on-the-field success is so incredibly difficult to maintain, even for the preeminent powers that be (have you been on orangebloods.com in the last two seasons?)

Don’t get me wrong, I was right there with everyone, pitchfork in hand, demanding that Holder hand over the money Gundy had rightfully earned a month ago.

But now that he’s been rewarded, you kind of have to take a step back and say “wow, what does a program coached by the 7th best coach in the country look like and is OSU ready to be there every year?”

Kirk Ferentz got his bump to $3.8 after leading Iowa to the 2010 Orange Bowl and since then has gone 15-11. Is his seat getting hot? No, because as we’ve learned with a certain basketball coach in Stillwater, a long, expensive contract guarantees you more than money. It guarantees you the opportunity to develop a long-term success, something Travis Ford hasn’t proved he’s interested in and something Mike Gundy has already done.

Obviously that’s the key here, that Gundy has proven over nearly half a decade that he does in fact know how to steer a national program with a vault of money in the right direction. His comments after the Fiesta Bowl were intriguing though, almost as if he didn’t know whether everybody else is ready for this:

If we’re going to compete with Oklahoma and Texas and Nebraska and LSU and Alabama and Stanford and all these teams, then we need to do the same things that they’re doing. We’ve been fortunate. We’ve competed at a very high level the last two years but we’ve done it a little bit short-handed. We’re not going to always be able to do it short-handed. We have to have the same opportunities as everybody else.

Am I slightly perturbed that a coach for the team that hadn’t beaten OU in nearly a decade and just now won its first Big 12 title is being compensated with the likes of Urban Meyer and Les Miles? Maybe, but folks that’s the world we live in today, and I can promise you Mike Gundy has been at the helm of a program that has brought in a handsome profit margin that is significantly his annual compensation in these last few years.

When you look at how much they brought in vs. how much they spend, that fact is kind of undeniable.

Which is exactly why the head ball coach just had his pockets lined with gold and orange doubloons and diamond-encrusted mini-Petes. I’m just not sure it need to be $3.7M worth. Where exactly was he going to go?

I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been paid, he should have, and well. I’m just saying that if there’s anything the last three years worth of basketball debacle have taught us is that programs, I mean real programs are built slowly and with care and precision.

A $1.6M leap in salary in one year is neither careful nor precise.

And the problem for Gundy is that I’m not sure he knows what he’s going to do for an encore.

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