Football Mom of All-Time Judy Gundy
Publisher's Note: Judy Gundy, the mother of former All-State and collegiate standout quarterbacks Mike and Cale Gundy, both now coaching at their respective alma mater, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 2 at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City. She was surrounded by her husband Ray Gundy and her children, including daughter Kari Long and Mike and Cale. Judy had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks earlier and had also broken her hip. Later she developed pneumonia. She is survived by her immediate family, including eight grandchildren, and so many good friends that enjoyed their relationship with a truly marvelous lady.
I remember the first time that I met Judy Gundy. I was working at Channel 4 in Oklahoma City and I thought it would be fun to do a story on what it was like to be a blue chip recruit, which her oldest son Mike, certainly was. Now, I could see a mom being just a bit guarded about allowing a member of the media full access into her home and what was going on with her family, but after a few questions about my intentions and a meal together Judy Gundy was in approval.
Once you were okay in Judy Gundy's eyes then there were all kinds of privileges waiting for you. You were going to get Judy Gundy's fantastic home cooking, her life wisdom, and her undying loyalty. You see the word loyalty is pretty important in the Gundy family. With brothers that have played and still coach on opposite sides of one of the most fierce rivalries in college football and then further down the family tree, sisters that have played on opposite sides of the same rivalry in sotball; loyalty has to win out. Judy was loyal to the Gundys and the Longs (her granddaughters).
Judy Gundy told me many times and then hearing it less than 24 hours after she passed away on Sunday, Aug. 2, from her husdand Ray it made me feel good.
"Robert, you always have my son's (Mike) back and you've always been a friend of the Gundys and I appreciate that," she told me several times. "You will always be welcome here."
A native of Michigan, Judy Gundy represented what is best in women in Oklahoma. She was very proud of her husband and her children. Whenever you visited the Gundy's whether it was in the house on Cherrywood Lane where older sister Kari, Mike, and younger brother Cale grew up or the house she and Ray later moved into; you were going to step into a neat home that always smelled good, often from something cooking and one that always had a warm feeling to it. Judy took pride in being a mom and being a leader in her family.
Mind you this is a woman that did not allow football talk at the Thanksgiving table, with Bedlam usually a couple of days away, and her two son's teams battling. Yet, she loved football and loved watching her boys play and later watching her boys coach and influence young men. This may shock many of you but when Mike, or I presume Cale, would call home for some football logic they would ask Judy. As much as anybody in the family, Judy knew what a good quarterback looked like, thought like, and played like. I learned like all the men in the Gundy family that Judy's football opinions were usually spot on. She usually could tell you early on in a game which team would win.
Her thoughts on life and how to live it well were just as good and just as welcomed. She was proud of each and everyone of her grandchildren and relished in watching their accomplishments on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life. Judy was a heckuva softball grandmother and loved watching her granddaughters on the diamond.
She also relished what your kids did. Judy Gundy was so kind to both of my children. She was very proud that Zach was part of Mike Gundy's first four teams at Oklahoma State and that Katy did so well in high school basketball and in the classroom.
My kids will always remember Judy Gundy, as many people will. She made that impression on you that lasts forever. Now, Judy Gundy was tough too. Cross her or treat her family unfairly and she was never going to forget it. She was very loyal and expected no less.
I'll always be appreciative that Judy Gundy gave me a sense of home and holidays when I didn't have much. In television, when you are the low person on the staff then you work on holidays. In our first few years of marriage, I would always send my wife home to see her family but I never ate alone on Thansgiving or Christmas, Judy Gundy would let me know when the holiday meal was and make sure I knew I was invited.
I know my wife is a really good football mom and I know that my son Zach's wife, Sam, is already the same. I did a story on a fabulous football mom this spring in Mandi Moore, the mother of Tylan and Tracin Wallace. There are so many great football moms, but Judy Gundy has to sit at the top and is one of the best I'll ever know. May she rest in peace, have a great view of all the games, and I hope the angels and apostles are smart enough not to talk Bedlam football at Thanksgiving.