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Mike Holder, Burns Hargis Backing Gundy Following Investigation

Gundy gets a thumbs up for the season.



After a month of tumult in Stillwater that had yet to reach an actual conclusion, Mike Gundy finally received some public support from his athletic director, Mike Holder and president, Burns Hargis. Both men released statements on Thursday evening.

Mike Holder

“We have spent the past couple of weeks reviewing our program and talking with current and former players. Our internal review found that coach Gundy needs to invest more time in building stronger relationships with his student-athletes. However, our review has uncovered no signs or indication of racism.

“After meeting with Coach Gundy, I am confident that he listened to his student-athletes. I believe he is genuine in his commitment to strengthening relationships with his players. I believe this to be a win for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this will have on our team.”

It became pretty clear early on in all of this that this was not an issue of racism but rather an issue of power and distance. That’s more or less what Holder said in the above statement, and he’s right about this being a potential win for everyone. A thriving Mike Gundy in Stillwater is about the best Oklahoma State could hope for when it comes to college football.

Burns Hargis

“After discussing the results of a review of our football program conducted by Mike Holder and Chad Weiberg, the underlying issue was a lack of personal relationships between the head coach and players rather than anything racial. This issue is fixable.

“After meeting with both Mike Holder and Mike Gundy, I believe they are committed to taking steps to strengthen the relationships, which will improve communications and the program. I appreciate the student-athletes speaking candidly and the efforts of Mike Holder and Chad Weiberg to spend considerable time listening to present and past players. It is time to turn our attention to preparing for this year’s highly anticipated football season.”

What’s interesting here is that both Holder and Hargis are pretty publicly giving Gundy direction on where to go from here. Again, this is a good thing! This is how all of this should work. Gundy should not be the lone ranger off doing what he wants. Oklahoma State football — Oklahoma State University — is stronger when this triumvirate is all on the same page, working together toward the same goal.

This has — for myriad reasons — been the expected outcome since the Gundy-Chuba issue came to light a few weeks ago. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad outcome. Quite the opposite, actually. It could end up being the best outcome. Because, for the 1,000th time, this had nothing to do with a t-shirt at all but rather a coach that gained too much power and created too much distance from a program he’s guided to the best era it has ever experienced. With one tweet from his superstar tailback, all of that changed.

Hopefully — and, I think, probably — for the better.

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