Gundy Sets Personal Record with Near 20 Minute Monologue Opening Teleconference
STILLWATER -- Coaches can often get fairly boisterous and long-winded, but Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy has historically been close to the vest except for his 2007 rant that was a fairly lengthy soliloquy. Gundy set his personal record this time with a near 20 minute monologue on coronavirus, the people fighting it, and his football team surviving it. The occasion was a conference call with a few national media and most of the local media.
Gundy is well aware of the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had in Oklahoma, but he is also proud of the folks around him that are battling the virus on the front line.
“For me, I’m really proud of the people of Stillwater and Payne County,” said Mike Gundy. “Obviously statewide, our doctors, nurses, first responders, I’ve had some videos that have gone out on that. Food providers, supply carriers, all the different people that have been talked about by a variety of people over the past two to three weeks. I’ve watched this really close; I don’t pretend to be a doctor, but when you get up early enough in the morning and there’s not a lot to do, you start to read and study and realize all the people that have been impacted and the people that are on the front lines fighting this in a different way from others. I’m very appreciative, we all are very appreciative, and supporting all of those different people."
Gundy said he has been disappointed in so much of the media that has used the coronavirus to push political agendas or other outlets that have sensationalized and been overly dramatic about the situation. He even mentioned that he has discovered a new news source, One American News, that he says steers clear of politics and drama and just delivers news.
He talked about his situation and how he and his wife Kristen, have their two teenage boys at home with Gunnar and Gage and they are preaching the things to stay safe.
“I think it’s important that we continue to stay safe. Everybody’s getting a little bit of cabin fever,"Gundy admitted. "Obviously, I’m not a guy that likes to stay home; my ranch has helped me. I’ve been able to farm, which has kept me busy, but I have teenage boys at the house and it’s not easy to keep young people at home. I think we have to follow what the President said, you know if we stay our distance, continue to stay home unless we really need to be out.”
Oklahoma State football fans have seen in recent days some of the Oklahoma State players and what they are doing in following the direction of Rob Glass and his strength staff at Oklahoma State with training. Check out the social media posts by safety Tre Sterling's father Ron, by Malcolm Rodriguez, and by Brock Martin.
“Our players are doing very well,” the head coach said. “Our administration asked me to keep the players at home if possible. If they have somewhere to be, that they were safe because it would be better if they were home with family versus being on campus. So, we have around 105 players that are here in the spring and we only have three that are here on campus right now. We as a football staff have followed those guidelines, our players are home. As you know, our coaches have the ability to meet with our players from a football standpoint through Zoom. We’re meeting with our guys; some are meeting three to four times a week. I’ve asked our coaches not to spend more than 30 minutes per meeting based on most of us, especially an 18-19-20-year-old type-A athletic personality can stay tuned into a meeting on Zoom for more than about 30 minutes.”
Gundy is more than happy with the virtual meetings with the players and coaching staff. He is excited and confident about Rob Glass and the strength staff and their work as evidenced by the social media videos above and more reports.
"As you know, we have the best strength coach in the country,” Gundy seemed pumped up with this comment. “[Rob Glass’] been in touch with our players from day one. He’s divided our team up amongst his staff, they stay in touch with them. They have the ability to get gear if they need it, most of them don’t gear, they have tons of things to work out in. Their nutrition has been sent to them. So, it’s on a player basis. Coaches provided them with what they need in all different areas, whether there’s facilities to work, or it’s at home stuff and we’ve stayed in touch with them. I’ve seen posts on Twitter and Facebook [accounts] with them lifting and continuing to train and work."
He may have been most enthused about the work of his players academically in on-line classes saying the participation may be better than when the players are actually on campus. He has even tuned in on Zoom to some classes.
“Our academic staff, with Marilyn Middlebrook, they’re awesome and just been fantastic. We actually have a better feel now for everything going on academically based on technology. Our players have the ability to go into academic tutoring and counseling sessions with our staff and we’re getting grade reports and attendance reports based on how they’re tuned into their classes and I’m not so sure that these reports aren’t more accurate now than when we were in school.”
A concern we wrote about, in part, in our story on Tracin and Tylan Wallace and their mother Mandi Moore, the needs for players that are still rehabilitating injuries like Tylan Wallace coming off his ACL injury and surgery. Gundy emphasized that the program's medical staff has that taken care of.
"John Stem and Scott Parker, they’re in touch with our players consistently,” said coach Gundy. “They’re getting information on the virus, on how to stay safe just like you guys are. (They are learning) things to look for. Those [players] that were injured and had surgeries that needed to be rehabbed, and or the players that just had an injury that were in a rehab format, they have all that information. I was told that everyone of them have the ability to rehab just like they would if they were here at whatever location they are."
In the end, the culture that Gundy always speaks of, the Cowboy Culture that he has built the program on. Gundy was one of the first coaches to push the word culture. He was in early on using it as a bedrock foundation for what pushes the program, keeps it going, and where it goes for recovery when things aren't so good. Sometimes it is on a sign in the locker room or in the meeting rooms. Gundy has used t-shirts and messages to reinforce the Cowboy Culture. Now, he is counting on it to be what brings his team back to Stillwater after a worldwide health crisis and allows the Cowboys to pick up all the pieces and work toward a season that appears could be special.
“When we get the players back in three or four weeks or whenever we get them back, we’re gonna know who trained and worked out," Gundy expressed with a tone of voice that he expects they all will. "They’re gonna tell us something about themselves and we’re gonna learn a lot about the culture of Oklahoma State football.
“One good thing about Oklahoma State football is this: our culture is to take care of yourselves," he continued describing the reasons that he thinks that. "From the day that a young man walks on this campus, until he leaves, we instill in them that we’re going to give you way more than you’re ever going to get the rest of your life. You’re getting a free education, you’re getting free food, you get free housing, you’re getting free nutrition, you get academic support, you get all the gear you would need, but you need to learn to take care of yourself so when you leave here, you’re ready to go out in the world, take care of yourself. If you choose to be married, take care of your wife, if you choose to have kids, take care of your kids. That’s what college is all about; we’re developing young men.”
Now for Gundy, it also means surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and bring a part of what breaths life and normalcy of it back in Oklahoma and the college football landscape.