2012 Arkansas Football: Coaching Names Keep Skipping Gundy


Jul 24, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy speaks to reporters during Big 12 Media Day at the Westin Galleria. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Fayetteville, Ark. – Speculation over the next Arkansas Razorback head football coach has reached a fever pitch over the last couple of months, and rightfully so. Arkansas began the season as media darlings, ranked No. 10 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. After a 1-4 start fans began clamoring for that next coach now. Wisely, Arkansas has not made any rash decisions allowing the season and situation to unfold as time goes on.

Many names have surfaced, been debated, and bypassed by the media and Razorback Nation. The top names that keep surfacing as possible head coaching candidates for the Arkansas job includes: Jon Gruden, Butch Davis, and Charlie Strong among a few others.

Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long has let it be known that he wants a coach that is currently working. That takes Gruden and Davis immediately off the board.

Charlie Strong recently gave a passionate speech on the Jim Rome show that he would remain loyal to Louisville after they took a chance on him; scratch another coach off the list.

Off all the other names that are bantered around including Gary Patterson (TCU), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech), and Kirby Smart (defensive coordinator Alabama) everyone has seemingly forgotten about Mike Gundy, head coach at Oklahoma State.

Cowboy fans may find this to be blasphemous but Mike Gundy does fit the profile of a legitimate candidate Jeff Long may consider.

Gundy has a 63-32 overall head coaching record with a winning record in bowl games (4-3). He won the Big 12 South Division title in 2010 and won the Big 12 title outright in 2011. He’s produced four straight seasons of nine wins or better including an 11-2 season in 2010 and 12-1 in 2011 but even more impressive sports a six year run of winning seasons after taking over an average Oklahoma State program in 2005.

Perhaps the most attractive part of considering Gundy is the offense he would bring with him to Fayetteville. If you like West Virginia’s offense guess who helped get Dana Holgorsen his start, Mike Gundy.

His salary range puts him in line with what the Razorbacks would like to spend ($3.75 million) for their next head coach.

As always there is a hitch, and this one is a big one. Gundy is an Oklahoma guy through and through. Born in Midwest, Oklahoma, he played college football for Oklahoma State making the separation of Gundy from the Cowboys a more difficult task.

Gundy played quarterback for the Cowboys from 1986-1989 before being hired on as the wide receivers coach in 1990. By 1994 Gundy was the offensive coordinator for OSU before going to Baylor as quarterbacks coach for one season (1996) and then to Maryland as their wide receivers coach from 1997-2000.

OSU brought Gundy back as their offensive coordinator in 2001 and by 2005 he was their new head coach taking over for departed head coach Les Miles.

Gundy fits the bill in other areas for Arkansas including recruiting, not recruiting ranking success per recruiting services but along the line of getting more out of less touted players with translated achievement on the field.

OSU covers Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and could open the Hogs up to areas not canvassed as well in the past including Kansas and Georgia while helping maintain a strong recruiting presence in the state of Oklahoma.

The biggest question is will Gundy leave OSU for tougher waters at Arkansas?

The Razorbacks may pay Gundy more money, one can assume that OSU will match the Hogs’ offer, but Gundy’s desire to coach against the best of the best week after week including against his old boss currently at LSU would have to be at the heart of his final decision.

At this point in time everyone is an Arkansas Razorback insider, everyone has an opinion on who should be the next head coach hired but no one really knows what will come to pass.

Gundy is a long shot as are a couple of other coaches on the list of Razorback Nation’s favorite coaches to hire. As the season rolls on some of the coveted coaches on the list are starting to lose their luster and some of these long shots might actually come into play.