In news that that won't surprise many, Mike Gundy is going to be coaching at Oklahoma State for just a while longer. On Saturday, the school finally announced Gundy would be rewarded with an eight year contract extension that would run through the 2019 football season.
For whatever reason, the negotiations on Gundy's extension were drug out from the end of the season when the Cowboys won their first ever Big 12 Championship, until after the Fiesta Bowl when the Pokes put the finishing touches on a 12-1 season. Now, all the rumors and talk of hot seats can be put to rest.
With Gundy's new compensation checking in at $3.7 million annually, he will be one of the top paid coaches in the country with only Mack Brown, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Les Miles, and Kirk Ferentz bringing home more in their paychecks.
That is a raise from the $2.1 million he was scheduled to make during the 2011 season. Going 23-3 over the past two seasons definitely has its advantages. It is always a good thing to strike while the iron is hot.
That's not to say that Gundy can't keep the ball rolling because after all, he's taken Oklahoma State football to places it has never been before. But with increased success (and bigger paychecks), come increased expectations. The challenge now becomes keeping Oklahoma State not only among the top teams in the Big 12, but the top teams in the country.
It certainly won't be easy without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon next season and therein lies part of the challenge. He's the guy that brought those guys to Stillwater, but can he continue to lure that type talent to a place top flight recruits haven't always considered first?
Here's guessing he will. Neither Weeden or Blackmon were big-time recruits when they arrived in Stillwater. Everyone knows Weeden's story with his run in minor league baseball and Blackmon was a just a three-star athlete out of high school and wasn't all that heavily recruited. They both developed to an entirely different level after arriving in Stillwater. So long as Gundy can keep developing those types of skill players, while continuing to improve the team on the defense, there's no reason why Oklahoma State can't or won't compete for conference and national titles on a more regular basis.
They now have some of the best facilities (which continue to get better), they are in or near a great recruiting region, and they have continuity among the coaching staff, particularly with the guy at the top. That is one advantage that Oklahoma State has over most of the other schools in the country. There is no doubt who is going to be their head coach and the new contract drives home that point.
Getting to the top is never easy, and staying there won't be any easier just because of a new contract. Add to that, they'll be just a few more people paying attention to Oklahoma State football now that they are winning and have one of the top paid coaches in the country, not that that is a bad thing at all. It definitely beats the alternative.