Get used to Mike Gundy as an elite coach
Really, though, it was a matter of time. Flirtations with A&M? An eventual breakup?
Mike Gundy loves Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State loves Mike Gundy.
They'll be together for eight years and Gundy will be paid among college football's top 10 coaches after agreeing to a contract extension and a big raise. As it should be.
That's what happens when one pays for the other's education and hires him as a 23-year-old assistant coach and 27-year-old offensive coordinator.
And that's what happens when a 44-year-old head coach (yes, he's a man) guides his alma mater to the two best seasons in school history in consecutive years.
These two belong together. Gundy, who hired agent Jimmy Sexton, grew uncomfortable as the process dragged on during his team's preparations for its Fiesta Bowl date with Stanford.
The Cowboys won to cap the first 12-win season in school history, which coincided with the school's first BCS appearance ever.
Uncomfortable or not, it shouldn't have come to this. "This," though is in the past and Gundy's gotten what's coming to him.
How many coaches have held the same job for seven years and had an equal or better record every season?
Not many, and Gundy's being paid like one. His deal reportedly averages out to about $3.75 million per year, up from $2.1 million this past season.
Kansas' Turner Gill and Texas A&M's Mike Sherman were paid more in 2011. They were both fired after the season. Now, only Texas' Mack Brown and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops are paid more in the Big 12.
Gundy was the 29th-highest paid coach nationally this season, according to USA Today's coaching salary study. His new raise puts him at sixth, ahead of guys like Bobby Petrino at Arkansas, Chip Kelly at Oregon and Bret Bielema at Wisconsin.
Gundy kicked off his career with a four-win season and two seven-win seasons. For some who saw those years, its hard to see Gundy, who first burst on the scene with his polarizing rant, as a coach who has ascended to the coaching elite.
But consider also: Gundy has as many BCS wins now as Petrino and Kelly, who both have earned reputations as offensive virtuosos. He has one more than Bielema, who is 0-2 in two Rose Bowl appearances.
He's developed offensive talent with the best of anyone in the country, sending stars like Dez Bryant, Kendall Hunter, Zac Robinson, Russell Okung and soon to be Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon to the NFL. On the way, he collected bushels-full of wins that Oklahoma State has never seen before.
This has been the best four-year period in the history of Oklahoma State football. Gundy is the biggest reason why.
This took too long. Why Oklahoma State wouldn't want to pay up for as long as possible, especially with more Big 12 money on the way, I have no idea.
But it's done now.
Oklahoma State paid up. Gundy is paid like one of college football's best coaches.
With a résumé like he's put together, with 41 wins, a Big 12 title, a BCS bowl win and a share of the Big 12 South all in the past four years, how else should he be paid?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
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Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.