As a player, the former Sooners quarterback set numerous passing records during a prolific playing career. As a coach, he is entering his 17th season on Bob Stoops’ staff, longevity exceeded by only four other assistants in University of Oklahoma history, the Tulsa World reported.
Did Gundy think he would be in Norman this long?
“I would have liked it, but I never would’ve expected it,” Gundy said. “You just don’t see a lot of coaches staying at places for a long period of time. The one great positive about that is if you do, you’ve typically done some good things.
“Obviously, coach Stoops has done some tremendous things here. That’s why he is still here, and I have been fortunate to be a part of it.”
According to coachingsearch.com, only 11 assistant coaches have been at their current school longer than Gundy’s run. In fact, only 31 of the 1,152 full-time assistants in FBS have been in their current school since 2005.
Gundy played at Oklahoma (1990-93), where he led the Sooners to a 31-13-2 record as a starting quarterback. The Midwest City native was an All-Big Eight first-team selection as a senior.
After serving one season as an OU student assistant coach, Gundy joined the UAB staff, coaching quarterbacks (1995) and running backs (1996-98). Then one call from Stoops in 1999 brought him home.
“It came at a good time, which any time would have been a good time to come back here and coach at Oklahoma,” Gundy said. “I can remember this day, how exciting it was and to be able to go home and tell my wife what we were about to do. And just being around Coach for the last 16 years, you could not ask for a better guy to work for with how he treats you. It’s been pretty special.”
When you’ve been at one place for so long, you could fall into the label of being a lifetime assistant coach. Does Gundy have dreams of being a head coach?
“Of course. I’d love to be a head coach,” he said. “Again, I feel like I work for one of the best, if not the best, in the business. I’ve learned a lot of good things. I’ve worked with some very good coaches. That’s definitely something that I would like to do someday.”
Up north in Stillwater, Gundy’s older brother Mike is entering his 11th season as Oklahoma State’s head coach. While there is competition on the field and in recruiting, Gundy is still impressed with what his older brother has accomplished with the Cowboys.
“He has been special to that place,” Gundy said of Mike. “If you are going to maybe throw out some names and the reason for their success over the years and the progress that they’ve made, he’s definitely one of them. Obviously with what T. Boone (Pickens) has done and (athletic director) Mike Holder and the president and the players . but Mike is right up there, there’s no doubt.
“It is tough sometimes being a coach at another school and being in the same room where you talk about Oklahoma State and recruiting and this and that. At the end of the day, it’s a job, but when I leave there, he is my brother.”
So have the brothers ever talked about working together at some point?
“No,” Gundy said with a smile. “He knows I wouldn’t leave here.”
Gundy’s track record as a running backs coach was impressive. He has worked with players like Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and Quentin Griffin. He was the chief recruiter for current star Samaje Perine.
But things changed this year. With the installation of new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid system, Gundy has shifted to inside receivers coach. It’s the first time in 17 seasons he hasn’t led the running backs.
“It’s been good. I think it was good timing for me and my career,” said Gundy, who is also an assistant head coach and director of recruiting. “Getting back into the system and throwing the ball around a little bit more . It is definitely exciting.”
Senior wide receiver Sterling Shepard often visited Oklahoma practices when he was a child. Now he is taking instruction from his new position coach.
“That’s my guy right there,” Shepard said. “Coach Gundy is one of those guys who wants the best for you, but he is going to be hard on you. Since he’s known me since I was a little kid, he is definitely hard on me with everything that I do. I may get frustrated at times, but it is for the best, and that’s what I have to remember.”
Gundy’s favorite thing about the job may be the relationships built, both on the staff and on the field. He has made a lot of memories with fellow assistant coaches and their families, as well as with the players — stars and role players — who have come through the program.
“When you coach at the same place, everything is important to you,” Gundy said. “It is even doubly more important when you’ve been here as a long as I’ve been here.”