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COMMENTARY: Brent Venables' Actions Are Backing up His Words at Oklahoma

In accepting Cale Gundy's resignation this weekend, Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables reinforced that no one person is bigger than OU's program.

Brent Venables is experiencing his first true turbulence as the head coach at Oklahoma.

The announcement of Cale Gundy’s resignation on Sunday night sent shockwaves through Norman and beyond, but the decision was consistent with the message Venables has touted since he arrived back on campus.

“You can still win at the highest level and do it the right way,” Venables said during a press conference last March.

For Venables, the right way means establishing a culture of integrity and accountability.

After Oklahoma’s spring game, the OU head coach pointed out that not only was instilling that culture important, but that it had to be done immediately.

“I'm focused on building the program the right way,” he said. “If we let the toothpaste out of the tube, we can't get it back in. So we can't miss.

“There's one (chance) to do it the first time, do it right the first time. We get one chance as a staff.”

Accepting Gundy’s resignation under any circumstance would have been a difficult decision. But it was also the first major personnel action Venables was going to make as the head coach.

For more than three decades, Gundy has been an integral part of Oklahoma football.

As a player, he led the Sooners to success on the field.

As an assistant coach, he played a role in the recruitment and development of some of the most productive players in the history of the program.

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And as evidenced by the droves of former players who have spoken out in support of Gundy, he was beloved.

But he also made a mistake — one that would have lingered over the program and no doubt would have been brought up time and time again for years on the recruiting trail by Oklahoma’s rivals.

Gundy resigning was no doubt a difficult decision, but Bob Stoops’ rallying cry throughout the coaching transition last December still rings true today.

“There’s not one guy, one person in the history of this program that’s bigger than the program,” Stoops said ahead of the Alamo Bowl. “… Players throughout these decades, they are OU football.”

Monday, Venables issued a second statement on Gundy’s resignation, and the opening sentence outlined exactly who he was thinking of throughout this situation.

“As painful as it has been dealing with Coach Gundy resigning from the program,” Venables wrote, “it doesn’t touch the experience of pain felt by a room full of young men I am charged to protect, lead and love.”

Venables is tasked with developing his players, and he’s said over and over that everything the program does will be geared toward keeping each player’s best interests top of mind.

In accepting Gundy’s resignation, Venables showed everyone how he intends to guide his program.

No coach is bigger than the Oklahoma brand, and Venables has now set an example to back up his words from the spring. 


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