Oklahoma State Football head coach Mike Gundy was never able to really get the Cowboys over the edge. Was 2021 his last chance to do so?
Mike Gundy has spearheaded Oklahoma State’s football program since 2005, making him the longest-serving head coach in the Big 12 by a convincing margin; and you don’t get such job security with luck.
In the process of building Oklahoma State Football to what it is today, Gundy has seen only one negative record — and that was in his freshman season (4-7). Considering he took on a power that at the time had lost 12 out of the last 16 seasons, that’s pretty impressive.
But when Gundy’s career is all said and done, how will he be remembered most: as a coach who turned a once lackluster program into an enduring powerhouse, or as one who never managed to get his team over the hill? Considering the heartbreaking ending the Cowboys saw for their 2021 run, he is at serious risk of bleeding into the latter.
Will Mike Gundy Ever Take Oklahoma State Football Over The Hill?
First off, it should be recognized that Gundy has actually accomplished very little at Oklahoma State beyond his overall win percentage, and this is particularly noticeable when considering his performance in league play.
Since 2005, the Cowboys have struggled tremendously with multiple rivals, which has caused them a lot of trouble trying to keep a foot in the Big 12 door.
Some examples of such struggles include their records against Baylor (10-8), Texas (8-9), and most notably Oklahoma (3-14) in that span.
Because of this apparent inability to dominate its conference, OK State has only seen one Big 12 title in the Mike Gundy era. That fact alone causes his legacy to take a nasty blow, but the worst part is when you see the peak the Cowboys have reached along with how long it’s been since they did so.
Gundy was once able to lead his side to an impressive 12-1 record that paved the way to an unclaimed national title thanks to the Colley Matrix. It was a performance with which Oklahoma State closed its 2011-12 run – a season that is now a decade old.
In the years since that monumental achievement, the best thing the cowboys have done has fallen short in size and left people wondering “what if.” Last season looked like a moment when that trend could have been stopped, but a loss to Baylor in the Big 12 title game ended any chance of that actually happening.
Their state inferiority can’t even serve as an excuse, as the Oklahoma Sooners didn’t win the conference last year for the first time since 2014; It was also the first time OK State had managed to beat them outright since. However, there was still no sign of the championship title.
With OU never staying “down” long, Dave Aranda’s Baylor Bears seemingly on the rise, and Mike Gundy not getting any younger, it’s hard to see when the Cowboys will win the Big 12 again and/or make it into the CFP bracket anytime can soon. When such milestones are never reached, it becomes hard to look back on Mike Gundy’s coaching career as positively as his talent deserves.