The year was 1989.
Mike Gundy was an Oklahoma State Cowboy, although not exactly in the same capacity as his duties these days as the coach. During that point in time nearly three decades ago, Gundy was the Cowboys starting quarterback and one nursing a a torn PCL injury with Kansas State and first-year coach Bill Snyder (yes, there was a time when he was in his first year as a coach) coming to town.
The stage was set for a high-stakes battle between 1-4 programs, but Gundy, fresh off of a PCL tear suffered in a 37-15 loss to Oklahoma the week before, wasn’t going to play.
One halftime deficit and a drained knee later, Gundy was out on the field against Snyder’s Wildcats, running speed options and throwing the game-winning touchdown.
Although what followed has since become custom for Snyder throughout his storied tenure, Gundy received his very first handwritten note from Snyder following Oklahoma State’s 17-13 win.
“The next week I got a nice, long handwritten note from guess who; Coach Snyder,” Gundy said during his weekly press conference. “It was pretty awesome. To me that was a big deal. And at the time, he was just an offensive coordinator from Iowa that somebody thought had completely lost his mind to take the Kansas State job.”
Nearly 30 years have come and gone since Gundy guided the Cowboys to a narrow win over Snyder’s Wildcats, bum knee and all.
But somewhere in a shoebox at his mother’s house, Gundy still has that very first handwritten note from Snyder.
On Nov. 18, Oklahoma State will square off in what may be the final time Gundy and Snyder ever take the field against each other in any capacity. Soon thereafter, the Pokes coach may very well receive his final handwritten note from Kansas State’s Hall of Fame coach.
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