“I don’t care what people think. They can go fly a kite for all I care.”

I have a weakness for stories like how Mike Gundy went out and hired his current offensive coordinator.

When Gundy began searching for an offensive coordinator after the 2012 season, he sought two qualities: talent and anonymity. He was tired of losing assistants.

Todd Monken had left for the Southern Miss head-coaching job after two record-setting seasons with Oklahoma State. Monken followed Dana Holgorsen, who spent the 2010 season as the Pokes’ OC before taking the West Virginia job. Since becoming Oklahoma State’s coach in 2005, Gundy had only one offensive coordinator last longer than two years — Larry Fedora logged three seasons before becoming head coach at Southern Miss.

“I said, ‘Forget this. I’m going to go find somebody that nobody will want for a while,'” Gundy said. “And I got lucky, and it worked out great for us, and it solved and/or ended the issue I was concerned about.”

Gundy went online and looked up offenses that excelled both with rushing and passing numbers. He then narrowed the search to no-huddle, tempo-based offenses similar to Oklahoma State’s. Next, he found coordinators who also coached quarterbacks. The last step, the trickiest, was identifying lesser-known coaches who might stick around even after successful seasons.

Starting at the FBS level, Gundy worked his way to Shippensburg University, a Division II program in south central Pennsylvania. Under Yurcich, Shippensburg had led Division II in offense (529.2 yards per game) and ranked second in scoring (46.9 PPG) in 2012, a year after shattering team records for scoring and yards.

Gundy had numbers but no video, and tracking down the person who handled Shippensburg’s film wasn’t easy. “He was a fireman and [was] teaching class,” Gundy recalled. Oklahoma State eventually got three games sent its way as part of a film exchange, and Gundy liked what he saw.

Mainly because it takes a certain amount of balls that tends to be lacking in the majority of coaching hires we see these days.

After Oklahoma State’s success, will other coaches accept the Mike Gundy Coordinator-Finding Challenge? Gundy doesn’t think so.

“Let me build a scenario for you,” Gundy said. “It’s the AD that hires everybody’s favorite as the next head coach, because then, if the guy doesn’t make it, he can say, ‘Well, everybody wanted him. He was the logical choice, right?’ You’re not going to see very many coaches that have a gut feeling on a guy and hire a guy at Shippensburg, and have the fans or the administration patronizing you because you hired some guy [and] everybody thought you lost your mind.

“Most coaches aren’t going to be like that.”

Also, because this is one of the best job acceptance stories I’ve ever read.

Gundy finally connected with the Raiders’ offensive coordinator and arranged a meeting at a hotel near where he would be recruiting. On a cold, snowy day early in 2013, the two men met and talked ball for three hours. Gundy did some vetting, talking with Shippensburg coach Mark Maciejewski, but knew he had his man.

“That doesn’t happen every day,” Maciejewski said. “It was a unique situation and very fortunate for him. At first, it was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ But then, as time goes on, you sit back and you see there’s a reason [Gundy] wanted him.”

The next day, Gundy called.

“Mike, here’s the deal,” he told Yurcich. “I’m going to offer you the job, and I have a three-year contract that pays $400,000 a year.”

Silence. Three seconds, four, five, six … Gundy worried that Yurcich had been caught in a snowstorm.

“Are you there?” he asked.

“Yessir.”

“Well, do you need to talk to your wife?”

“I don’t need to talk to anybody.”

Yurcich at the time was making $52,500 a year at Shippensburg.  No kidding he didn’t need to talk to anyone.

14 Comments

Filed under College Football

14 responses to ““I don’t care what people think. They can go fly a kite for all I care.”

  1. Heyberto

    Kind of reminds me of this https://youtu.be/vyvu1nWjOlI

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  2. Cousin Eddie

    Mike Gundy is a man. But seriously it does take more confidence than most coaches have in their jobs to do something that far out of the box.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DB

    Gundy may deserve his own file here on GTP.

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  4. Dave

    Public perception is always at the forefront of most coaches’ minds. Some of those coaches have been very successful, and some haven’t.

    I always think of the HS coach who basically never punts when I read things like this. He’s one of the winningest coaches in the nation. He talks all the time about how it makes so much more sense mathematically speaking to not punt, but the reason everybody punts all the time is because, on the chance it doesn’t work out, they’re worried about being raked over the coals.

    Anyway, good for them both.

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  5. When you’re pretty much responsible for making OK State football relevant (with the money of T. Boone Pickens), I imagine he knows he can do whatever he wants and no one in Stillwater is going to question it.

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  6. Cojones

    Gundy only cares who his hair stylist is.

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    • Macallanlover

      I like Gundy, even with the mullet. Glad TN was willing to offer Chuckie $10MM, but only offered Gundy, a better coach, imo, $4MM. That allowed T. Boone to easily match it and keep Gundy in Stillwater. That was good for the Pokes, and Dawgs. Vols were so blinded by their fantasy of Gruden that they missed a big chance to get one of several candidates that would have been a bigger threat than Pruitt. I predict the smell of this dumpster will still be in their nostrils when the next flames are noticed.

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      • Napoleon BonerFart

        I don’t know. Gundy is thriving being a big fish in a small pond in Stillwater. Fulmer’s the biggest fish in Knoxville and certainly wasn’t going to let Gundy do his own thing.

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        • Macallanlover

          Thought Fulmer didn’t get the elevated status until after the Gundy whiff, and the Leach scheduled interview. His appointment may not have happened, Gundy as an accomplished HC wouldn’t have needed a has been’s oversight, imo.

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  7. DawgFlan

    Great story. A man has to be confident, with hair like that.

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    • Got Cowdog

      The mullet is truly epic. One of my lady friends posted a homage to it (and other commendable mullets) on social media. Billy Ray would be proud.

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  8. Pat Rosend

    Love that story. My kind of post.

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  9. AusDawg85

    Yurcich missed the opportunity to add…”plus a car. And moving expenses.” Always keep adding until the other guy balks.

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