Get to Know Oklahoma State's New/Old Offensive Coordinator Kasey Dunn
STILLWATER -- It is easy to spot Oklahoma State's veteran wide receivers coach and now new offensive coordinator on the practice field. Dunn is the guy that looks like he's heading over to Sanford and Son's (younger readers you can Google that) to check out the best items at the junkyard. Dunn is in sweats that look like they were issued when he was playing and a three-time All-American at the University of Idaho and the second all-time leading receiver in receptions and receiving yards in FCS to the GOAT Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State and later the San Francisco Forty-Niners.
Dunn's sweats are well worn and ragged in some places. His hat that he also wears on game days with the brand new Cowboys game swag is discolored and has old sweat stains. I told him that had he gone to UNLV to become offensive coordinator for former OSU assistant and now Rebels head coach Marcus Arroyo, it would have taken him years to get his UNLV gear worn in like his Oklahoma State Nike sweats.
"I'm comfortable and I know what I'm going to wear everyday for practice," Dunn said of his practice attire. "That is really what it is. The hat is tipped (bill) and it is comfortable and it is durable and I keep putting it back on."
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, his fellow coaches on the football staff, and the Cowboys players are very glad that old ball cap will keep being pulled on before practices and games. The 28-year veteran coach that has coached on both sides of the football, coached special teams as a coordinator, and has coached in the NFL as running backs coach for the Seattle Seahawks is as comfortable now in his 10th season in Stillwater as that cap is on his head. It is vice versa too.
"That was a great moment for us, and, as you know, we've been here a long time," Dunn said of the day Gundy offered him the chance to stay as offensive coordinator.
It was something many of us believe we saw happening as early as the flight back to Stillwater from the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl. Gundy knew that Rutgers was working hard to try to get Sean Gleeson back to New Jersey as their offensive coordinator. Gundy and athletic director Mike Holder both highly value Dunn, his influence on players and the school, and for Gundy, Dunn's knowledge of the offense and the way he wants it run.
It all added up.
"This is the position that we knew we wanted for a long time," Dunn said speaking for himself and his wife, Janelle, and daughters, who are both students at Oklahoma State. "There are certainly good coaches that have been here a long time and had paid their dues to be the offensive coordinator, so we didn't think it was going to come anytime early in our time here.
"As it kept going we were thinking this is our shot," Dunn continued speaking of his family as a team. "Hopefully, we've done things right and showed Coach Gundy that we were capable of taking on this responsibility for Oklahoma State and low and behold it worked out."
It did and Dunn, who came in his first season and coached Justin Blackmon to another All-American season and Biletnikoff Award experienced the big win over Oklahoma and the Big 12 Championship. Then there was the win over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl and a third-place finish in the polls. Dunn said he thought every year would be that way. He understands that is what Cowboys fans want. He also understands that this season, his first to call plays at Oklahoma State is primed for that kind of campaign. He embraces it.
"We just have to capitalize on the players that we have right now and getting them to be the best they can be," Dunn said calling that coach speak. "You don't have these every year and we know that, our fan base knows that. We are rivaling OU on getting that championship every season. This is a year that we are going to try to take this all the way. It is very important to our staff, very important to our players, and i can tell you nobody is taking this lightly."
Away from football, Dunn is a guy that loves to golf, loves the outdoors, and even told me that he and his wife, to safely escape the quarantine that we are all under for the COVID-19 pandemic, just took out in his truck and went driving red dirt roads.
Red dirt describes his musical taste as well as Dunn told me at the Oklahoma State football banquet that his favorite Christmas song was Dolly Parton's Hard Candy Christmas. Then he came back and changed it to Chris LeDoux's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Dunn, a red dirt music enthusiast, couldn't be any more Stillwater. His daughters grew up here and he likes to talk about his wife is more comfortable shopping Walmart, and Stillwater has two of them, than she is Nordstrom's.
"We were thrilled to stay here and this has been home for us for a long time," Dunn said enthusiastically. Stillwater has been great to us, but was it time to leave? It was if I didn't get the offensive coordinator job because I have my aspiration and goals and this is the path you have to take if you want to be a head coach."
Someday, Kasey Dunn is going to be really good in that role too. It's just great for now that he is calling plays and directing this offense in a year where so much is on the line.