Last Friday, Mike Gundy had a difficult decision to make. As the head coach of a consistent top-25 Division 1 college football team, Gundy has to make tough calls on a regular basis. Just these last few weeks, he has had to deal with losing Biletnikoff favorite Tylan Wallace to an ACL injury and freshman phenom quarterback Spencer Sanders to a hand injury.
Friday’s decision was of a different nature, however. Gundy’s son Gunnar, a senior at Stillwater High School, is the starting quarterback for the football team, and the Pioneers had a semifinal playoff game against Choctaw.
Some sources close to Oklahoma State football said that Gundy was “considering his options” on whether or not he would attend his son’s game and then fly into West Virginia on a private jet immediately after that game, enabling him to make the 11 AM kickoff in Morgantown. Gundy ended up doing just that, and there were no issues with him making the game, including the player meeting Saturday morning before arriving at the field.
His decision has sparked a bit of a conversation on social media among Oklahoma State fans. Many have voiced their support, while some have criticized him and even blamed him for the Cowboys’ lackadaisical play at times against West Virginia.
As a basketball coach, I take my job very seriously. I completely understand my duty and responsibility to my players, and that my level of preparation and commitment must set an example for them.
As a father, I take my responsibilities at home very seriously. If my wife and kids are not my priority, then there’s a problem.
I have no problem whatsoever with Gundy choosing to attend his son’s game. He managed to fly into West Virginia, arriving well after midnight, and while he was likely exhausted for the game in the morning, he was there.
Actually, I more than have no problem with him choosing his son’s game over flying in with the team. I fully support it and expected nothing less from him. If he doesn’t choose his son’s game here, then what does that say about him? Who cares if he’s “extra committed” to the Cowboys if he can’t be committed to his own son?
The fact that was he willing to make the sacrifice to be there for his son’s game—a 62-12 Stillwater victory—and still be able to fulfill his duty as Oklahoma State’s football coach makes him all the more impressive to me. It’s that type of behavior that will inspire a football team, not take away from what they’re trying to accomplish.
If you want to criticize Mike Gundy for the number of difficult decisions he has to make concerning Oklahoma State football, then by all means, go ahead. But if you want to try to weigh in Gundy’s parenting, maybe try focusing that energy elsewhere.