In a shocking late-night development, Oklahoma’s longest tenured assistant coach is stepping down.
Cale Gundy, who’s been involved with the program both as a record-setting quarterback, a tireless assistant and a blue-chip recruiter, announced on Twitter that “with great anguish, I announce my resignation.”
Gundy’s decision comes after an incident he described in a lengthy post:
“I owe it to Sooner Nation to be transparent about what led to this decision,” he wrote. “Last week, during a film session, I instructed my players to take notes. I noticed a player was distracted, and picked up his iPad and read aloud the words that were written on his screen. The word displayed had nothing to do with football. One particular word that I should never — under any circumstance — have uttered, was displayed on that screen. In the moment, I did not even realize what I was reading, and as soon as I did, I was horrified.
“I want to be very clear: the words I read aloud from that screen were not my words. What I said was not malicious; it wasn’t even intentional.
"Still, I am mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, no matter my intentions.”
Head coach Brent Venables also posted to social media confirming Gundy's departure.
"It is with sadness that I accept Coach Gundy's resignation," Venables said. "He's dedicated more than half his life to Oklahoma football and has served our program and university well. We're thankful for that commitment. We also acknowledge that in stepping aside, he's placed the program and the welfare of our student-athletes first. In coaching and in life, we're all accountable for our actions and the resulting outcomes.
"The culture we're building in our program is based on mutual respect. Our staff is here to develop successful student-athletes, but also young men of character. As the leaders of this program, it's essential that we hold ourselves to the highest standards as we model for our players the type of young men we want them to become."
The OU football team reported to preseason training camp last Thursday and began practice on Friday. At last week's media day, Gundy on Tuesday repeated his spring affirmation that the OU program is in a better place than ever.
"In my 24 years here as a coach, this program is in the best position as I've ever seen it," Gundy said. "I truly believe that."
In Sunday's statement, Gundy said the current team and its members “do not deserve to be distracted by off-the-field matters while working to continue the tradition of excellence that makes me so proud to be a Sooner. I won’t do the program I love the disservice of distracting from this mission. Effective immediately, I am stepping down.”
Gundy, who coaches OU wide receivers after a distinguished run as the Sooners’ running backs coach, said “I leave these sidelines heavy hearted.”
After Gundy's big brother Mike went to Oklahoma State and became a record-setting quarterback for the Cowboys, Cale matriculated from Midwest City High School, where he was the No. 1 recruit in the state and as top five national quarterback prospect, to OU, where he played four years for Gary Gibbs.
Gundy started for 3 1/2 years and was the key figure in bringing OU offensive football out of the wishbone era and into a new age of passing. From 1990-93, Gundy set almost every OU passing record, including career pass attempts (751), career completions (420), career yards (6,142), career touchdowns (35) and career total offense (6,389). He also set the OU career with 31 interceptions, as well as 200- and 300-yard games, and owned most single-game and single-season marks.
His teams' record in games Gundy was the starting quarterback was 24-12-2.
Gundy, who's official title was co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach during his 23rd and final season in 2021, was an OU student assistant in 1994 before coaching quarterbacks at UAB in 1995 and running backs from 1996-98.
In December 1998, Bob Stoops hired Gundy to coach running backs and lead his recruiting efforts in Oklahoma and Texas. He was Stoops' director of recruiting from 2004-16, and held that post for two years under Lincoln Riley.
In all, Gundy played or coached in 353 games as a Sooner, believed to be the most in school history. Long-time assistant Merv Johnson worked a string of 513 consecutive games as a coach and radio analyst.
Gundy also was an outstanding baseball player for the Sooners and was a pitcher on OU's 1992 College World Series team.
In the Gundy legacy, the stories from his recruitment of Adrian Peterson out of Palestine, TX, remains at the top. Gundy and Stoops famously visited Peterson's father in federal prison, and Gundy told the nation's No. 1 prospect in 2004 that the Sooners would win with him or without him, and Peterson soon committed to OU over Texas A&M and Texas.
Venables also said Gundy's interim replacement would be assistant receivers coach and offensive analyst L'Damian Washington. Washington, 31, played collegiately at Missouri before numerous brief forays into the NFL and other pro leagues. Venables hired Washington in January to assist Gundy with the Sooner wideouts.
Gundy, 50, just received a two-year contract extension and $10,000 annual raise in March, elevating his salary to $610,000 a year through 2024.