Strictly for Oklahoma State fans and not necessarily to the liking of fans at other Big 12 schools came the quote of Cowboys wide receiver Josh Stewart in self-endorsing and explaining his feelings on the upcoming season for the Cowboys.
"Understanding what we have at stake, our athleticism is the most we have ever had in OSU's program," Stewart said having had a couple of years to observe. "All we have to do is be coachable. We have one of the best coaching staffs in the business. I don't see why this season wouldn't turn out like we want to and that is be Big 12 champs with a national championship."
Yes, the coaching is good. That is also where the most important quote for Cowboy fans came from during Big 12 Football Media Days. Before sharing the quote, let's review the accomplishments of the man that made the quote.
In his eight years as head coach at Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy has won 67 games and lost 35 for a winning percentage of .663. That is 67 wins in 102 opportunities.
By comparison, Pat Jones won 62 games in 122 opportunities, Jim Lookabaugh had 58 wins in 105 games coached, and Cliff Speegle won 36 games in 81 opportunities. Those are the only others worth comparing as Gundy has already tied John F. Maulbetsch (1921-28) and Speegle (1955-62) for the third longest tenure in OSU coaching history.
Jim Lookabaugh (1939-49) and Pat Jones (1984-94) are tied with 11 seasons for the longest careers as Cowboys football head coach.
In winning percentage, Gundy is one of only three coaches to have won better than 60 percent of his games at OSU. The only coach at Oklahoma State with a better winning percentage than Gundy is Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, a College Football Hall of Fame member who is considered among the all-time greats in coaching college football. He was at Oklahoma A&M from 1929 to 1933 and left with a record of 34-10-7 for a winning percentage of .735.
Directly behind Gundy is Paul J. Davis (1909-14) with a winning percentage of .641 and a record of 29-16-1. The next best percentage belongs to Jim Lookabaugh at .581. Two notables are Les Miles at .571 and Jimmy Johnson at .544.
Bowls are not a good comparison as Davis, Waldorf and Lookabaugh coached before the massive proliferation of bowl games. However, it is important to point out that Gundy has taken Oklahoma State to seven bowl games, all in a row, a feat never accomplished before in school history, and is currently the 17th best consecutive bowl streak in college football.
All of that aside, last December after the regular season concluded and with some heavy hitter schools like Tennessee and Arkansas looking for new head coaches, Gundy was approached and at least discussed those two jobs.
OSU fans that had heard their head coach call his alma mater his "New York Yankees" job were crushed. Cowboy fans had always thought of Gundy as one of them and that he could never leave Stillwater.
The fact of the matter, and many did not want to listen or pay attention, was that Gundy was unhappy over several games recently scheduled for the program. He used that opportunity to try and convey displeasure with those games. The plan backfired with many Oklahoma State fans that felt jilted.
A good example was a local radio OSU personality bracket contest that had Gundy going against R.W. McQuarters in a first-round matchup. McQuarters is a good former OSU player who starred in the NFL, but beating a former quarterback and the all-time winningest coach in OSU history? That sent a message, loud and clear.
Now to the quote from earlier this week that I am quite surprised did not get more play in the local media in Oklahoma.
Gundy was asked about that flirtation last December and while he is not prone to making a lot of apologies, this quote rang sincere and in my mind represents the Mike Gundy I have known since he was a high school quarterback at Midwest City High School. It certainly reflects the opinion he has always shown me of being the head coach at his alma mater.
"I'm very happy in Stillwater," Gundy started. "To a certain extent, at times you wish that, or I wish that my name wouldn't have come up, or I wish that it wouldn't have been as much smoke or fire. At times I'm to blame for that.
"But I'm very happy, always been very happy in Stillwater," he continued. "And the honest answer is that from day one when we took this over, our coaching staff going into nine years now, we felt like the most important thing that we could do for the players on our team is make a commitment to them, if they would buy in, that we would have a chance to have success.
"For me personally, I have to feel comfortable knowing there's a commitment to the young men on our team to give them the best opportunity for success in the classroom and on the football field, and if there's not, then it's hard for me to sell. So at times, whether we all like to admit it or not, there's a business aspect to this profession, probably more so than we would like to think.
"But I have to feel comfortable myself personally, and I don't use I myself very often when we talk about Oklahoma State football, that there's a commitment in all different areas for our young men to have success. So when we go in those homes, the very most important thing we do is recruit young men who want to get a degree from Oklahoma State and be a part of that team, and that commitment has to be from both sides.
"So I'm comfortable with that," Gundy said. "It doesn't mean I always agree with the decisions that are made, none of us do, but I do understand a chain of command, and at the end of the day, I say, yes, sir, and move forward."
That's the most open, apologetic and explanatory that we've ever heard from Gundy being on that topic. In the process, and I have stated this opinion in the past and will always believe it, Oklahoma State football has been built, very successfully built now, on the generosity and concern that fueled T. Boone Pickens to contribute an unprecedented hundreds of millions of dollars to the athletic department and football.
That donation was prompted by constant and passionate pleas from athletic director Mike Holder. Decisions were made by many individuals on how to best spend that money on facilities that would best be put to use in improving the program. All of that allowed Gundy and his hand-picked coaching staff to recruit and design a strategic personality and plan, and coach athletes to execute that plan successfully.
Most of all, it is my personal opinion and always will be, talented young men accepted that challenge, took that coaching and then made the sacrifice in training and performing to win a lot of games and advance Oklahoma State football to a level never before achieved.
On a personal note, I never in my life planned to write a book. I'm not sure how many people actually think, "You know, I'm going to write a book as soon as I find something worth writing about." It was that process above that did inspire me to write a book, along with Mike Gundy, on the 2011 Big 12 Championship season.
My favorite quote in the world, was apparently born and first stated in a more proper form by English essayist Charlie Edward Montague sometime around 1900, but was made more popular by U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
"It's amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit."
Many hardworking, talented and caring Oklahoma State football players, Gundy and his coaching staff, an outstanding football support staff, Holder and his administrative staff, OSU President Burns Hargis and the OSU Board of Regents and administration as a whole, and the immense generosity of Pickens and others all the way to the season ticket holder in section 318, row four, seat 12 in the West End Zone.
There is a lot credit to be passed out for what has happened over the last decade in Stillwater and there have been many rewards to share. My hope and what I like to read into that quote is there will be many rewards continuing in the future.