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Most Important People #5 – Mike Gundy

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Photo Attribution: Icon SMI

Who he is: He’s the man who’s about two seasons from the all-time wins record at Oklahoma State. As Dave from OKC pointed out in his survey yesterday, what would people have done in 2005 if you could go back in time and tell them that?

What he does: Does anyone really know the answer to this question? I know he oversees everything so I’m guessing he’s more of a people manager than anything, which both scares me (I mean, it’s Gundy) and comforts me (all the great ones do it).

Where he fits in: I love what he did in the preseason with nixing the full-hits scrimmages and saying “you know what, screw how everyone else does thing, this is how we’re going to do them at OSU.” That takes balls and it also takes a sense of security in your job as well as the authority of longevity by your superiors. Coaches these days play everything so close to the vest so that, if they fail, they’ll be able to point back and say “well, I did everything I could have done” even while they weren’t maximizing the talent and team they had. Props to Gundy for doing things different.

Why he matters: He’s changed the entire culture of the program. Yes, Boone enabled and Holder facilitated, but Gundy has gotten it done. Is OSU here, in this position, if Tommy Tubberville or Houston Nutt is the had coach? Probably. But it’s been sweeter with Gundy at the helm. It’s been more organic and it’s felt more like the way you want OSU to do things.

Gundy matters because he’s the guy behind the curtain pulling the strings on everything that happens with this program. Or he’s at least the guy pulling the strings on the guys pulling the strings. I think people look to him now, not only to see what needs to be done, but to see how to do things the right way. That matters in a program like ours. He matters. He’s arrived.

And he still needs to shake Stoops’ hand having posted a W.

This post is part of our series on the 20 most important people to a 2011 Oklahoma State title run. Check the full list out here.

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