Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder may have been responsible for nearly pushing coach Mike Gundy out the door.
According to ESPN’s Chris Low, Gundy met with Tennessee about becoming the Vols’ next head coach because of a recent conflict with Holder. The friction apparently was related to Gundy’s desire to put bowl banners in the team’s indoor practice facility.
Gundy’s developing interest in Tennessee was heightened by another setback in his relationship with Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder, according to sources. Gundy had met with Holder and other Oklahoma State officials in recent days over a list of items Gundy believed would help recruiting efforts. Sources said talks between Holder and Gundy did not go well.
Gundy eventually elected to stay at Oklahoma State, turning down a reported $7 million per year deal from Tennessee. Former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones also said Gundy passed up an offer to become Florida’s new head coach. The Gators instead hired former Missisippi State coach Dan Mullen.
The Oklahoma State coach and AD have had conflicts before. Gundy’s most recent contract extension actually included language to protect him if he were ever fired by Holder for “insubordination.”
While Gundy and Holder don’t always get along, Gundy appears to have an ally in Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens. While Pickens and Gundy have not always been close, Pickens wrote a public letter of support for Gundy after the Cowboys lost to Oklahoma earlier this year.
Gundy is 113-53 in 13 seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma State.
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