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Mike Gundy will remain head football coach at Oklahoma State

  • July 03, 2020

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s job is safe.

University president Burns Hargis and Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder both announced Thursday night that Gundy will remain the head football coach following a 17-day internal investigation.

They determined Gundy’s issue was distance from his players — not racism.

“Our internal review found that Coach Gundy needs to invest more time in building stronger relationships with his student-athletes,” Holder said in a statement. “However, our review has uncovered no signs or indication of racism.

“After meeting with Coach Gundy, I am confident that he listened to his student-athletes. I believe he is genuine in his commitment to strengthening relationships with his players. I believe this to be a win for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this will have on our team.”

The ruling brings to end a turbulent spring for Gundy, who has coached the Cowboys since 2005. 

Gundy opened April with an hour-long teleconference in which he supported One America News Network, a far-right, pro-Donald Trump cable news network rated by Media Bias/Fact Check as being “not a credible news source.” 

On June 15, a picture emerged on social media of Gundy in an OAN Network t-shirt, angering his players. Star running back Chuba Hubbard tweeted that he would not participate in team activities until changes were made. Several current and former players showed support for Hubbard.

Later that night, Gundy and Hubbard delivered a video together, but Gundy did not apologize. Gundy posted an apology video the next day. He also said he was a “dumbass” in an interview with ESPN for wearing the T-shirt.

What changes have been made remain private.

“It was just how players were feeling,” OSU receiver Landon Wolf told The Oklahoman. “The shirt was a very small recent example. Coach may not have known. I think now there’s thankfully an open line of communication between players and coaches. I don’t think anything negative can come from that. 

“Everybody has genuine intentions of furthering the program, not just wins and losses but the experience as a whole — not just for student-athletes but everybody on campus.”

A source told The Oklahoman that the investigation had uncovered no racial turbulence, but he instead had little to no relationship at all with players.  

“This issue is fixable,” Hargis said in a release. “After meeting with both Mike Holder and Mike Gundy, I believe they are committed to taking steps to strengthen the relationships, which will improve communications and the program.”

Wolf said he believes the program is already moving in the right direction. He said his teammates feel changes are being made.

Now, they know Gundy will remain their coach.

“Although there was a disconnect at one point, I think that bridge is narrowing and we’re starting to get on the same page,” Wolf said.

Follow The Oklahoman‘s Jacob Unruh on Twitter @jacobunruh.

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