In a surprising revelation Monday night, Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated revealed that in 2017, Mike Gundy made it known through intermediaries that he was interested in the Florida head coaching job that opened shortly after the school moved on from Jim McElwain midseason.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen ultimately took the job, accepting a six-year deal on Nov. 26, 2017, but that was after Gundy reportedly talked twice with Florida AD Scott Stricklin about the job, meaning he had contact with him during what turned out to be a 10-3 season. OSU opened the year 7-1 before a 2-2 finish to conference play in November of that year. Here’s Dellenger:
In the aftermath of Kelly’s yanking his name from consideration, the committee turned to a surprise candidate before Saturday even arrived. Through intermediaries, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy suggested he’d be interested. Gundy was known to flirt with jobs only to remain at Oklahoma State with a hefty raise, and Stricklin knew this.
Dellenger added that Stricklin talked twice with Gundy by phone but opted not to take the discussions any further.
Gundy in the past has indeed been known to flirt with other jobs only to remain at Oklahoma State. The most well-known instance came when the Tennessee job opened up that same year, in 2017, before Gundy ultimately stayed put with his alma mater and long-time employer.
“Tennessee put together an unbelievable package, and it’s hard to tell somebody no when that happens,” Gundy said years later about that decision. “But I made the right decision.”
Tennessee also touched base with Gundy in 2008 and 2012. He got new deals shortly after each of the three flirtations.
There has been less noise surrounding Gundy and a potential departure in recent years. It’d be pretty surprising if he left. He has family in Stillwater and is a made man as it stands. But that logic applied in 2017, too, which makes this new revelation that he at the very least expressed interest in the Florida job all the more surprising, though who knows if he’d have taken it if offered.
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