Is Mike Gundy The Right Man For The LSU Tigers?
Earlier this week, a report came out linking the LSU Tigers to several big-name head coaches. As you know, the school fired Les Miles in September, and will be hiring his replacement this offseason. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron has done a fantastic job and is the favorite at this point, but LSU is looking into outside hires before making an official call.
Among the names said to be on LSU’s list is Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy. Gundy has been the head man in Stillwater since 2005, and has compiled a 102–49 record.
Gundy is an interesting candidate for LSU. He’s a big-name coach, is widely considered to be a good offensive mind, and has been very successful at a prestigious program. On paper, he has everything we seem to want in a head coach, but this is really the first time we’ve seen his name linked to the job.
First off, do you think there is any chance Mike Gundy leaves this offseason?
Kyle: My first inclination is to say no. His name gets brought up every couple of years for jobs. Last year, when the Southern Cal job came up, he pretty much shut things down. He’s an Oklahoma State guy and loves it in Stillwater. USC wouldn’t have been a good fit for him. Baton Rouge might be a different story, though.
Gundy’s family is here and a couple of his kids are still in school. Things like that are a priority for him. He skipped ESPN’s coaches car wash for his son’s baseball tournament. But if a job like LSU comes up you have to at least pick up the phone.
This year also brought the latest in a series of tiffs with super-donor T. Boone Pickens. That may cause him to entertain offers, but I would still expect him to remain in Stillwater.
Overall, how is Gundy perceived by the OSU fanbase?
Kyle: For the most part, OSU fans love Mike Gundy. He recently reached his 100th win at the school. That’s no small feat at Oklahoma State, or anywhere. There is a small minority that think good coaches grow on trees but for the most part OSU fans know what they have.
What do you think he would bring to the table as LSU’s head coach?
Kyle: He would bring a ton of confidence and a track record for forward thinking. He pretty much pioneered the idea of satellite camps and has been ahead of the curve on everything from analytics to being one of the first to use GPS devices to track players’ reps/yards in practice.
Could Gundy be the guy to finally turn around the Tigers’ offensive woes?
Kyle: A lot of people equate Gundy with the air-raid offense because of some of his past teams, especially 2010 and 2011. But the truth is Mike Gundy would prefer to run a more pro-style system. He brought in Dana Holgorsen as his offensive coordinator in 2010 to run an offense that would fit Brandon Weeden. Todd Monken took over as OC when Holgorsen left for West Virginia and put up even bigger numbers before being hired away himself.
If he had the talent up front and at running back that LSU could offer, he definitely wouldn’t abandon the run. So if he comes, don’t expect Mike Leach. But he is adaptable and I would be surprised if he didn’t find a way to put up points.
Is Mike Gundy someone you think could succeed in recruiting against other SEC powerhouses?
Kyle: Most people nation-wide still remember Gundy for his “I’m 40” rant. While some view it negatively, from all indications, players love it. The term “player’s coach” gets thrown around a lot but it sticks with him. He connects with his players and they love him. And, of course, he likes to cut loose in the locker room after a big win.
His early success at OSU was mainly due to his ability to recruit well in Texas when that had never really been the case at OSU. He’s got the perfect mix of confidence and charisma and given the purple and gold platform, I could see him nabbing a couple recruits from Nick Saban.