There’s been a slow-growing aura about Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy that’s finally being noticed by everyone outside Stillwater. It started a decade ago with the self-declaration of his manhood -- a one-off, all-time soundbite of a rant -- but only recently is everyone realizing that Gundy is up there among college football’s fascinating personalities. 

Example 583: He goes rattlesnake hunting in rural Oklahoma with two guys named Todd and Wild Bill

Gundy comes by this naturally -- or, at least, that’s what I like to believe -- because no one reasonably hunts for venomous serpents without being mega country at heart. 

This leads to the question of where this Mike Gundy has been for the longest time. 

You see, there’s a dichotomy to his personality, which makes him all the more interesting. Gundy for so long was more of the quiet type. Perhaps the fallout of the “I’m a man! I’m 40!” moment, stemming from his disgust with a newspaper article, caused him to keep things pinned tightly -- at least with media in its various formats. 

But over the past year, his personality blossomed on a more public scale. And, boy, it is extremely Oklahoma. . . 

This should make sense, of course. As a player and coach, Gundy has spent all but about five years at Oklahoma State -- a school known as the home to one of the country’s blue-blood wrestling programs. So it only made sense that Gundy appeared in a promo video, full singlet and all, to give the Cowboys’ wrestling team a bump. 

In a similar way, it made sense that Gundy grew a mullet (see below) to both annoy his own son and motivate him to do well in school. Yet, perhaps intentionally but most likely acidentally, he’s turned the whole thing into a performance art project of the cosmetic variety. 

It made even more sense that Gundy knew his mullet wasn’t actually mullet when he started growing it, and would correct anyone calling it as such. 

“It’s not a real mullet,” Gundy said during last year’s Big 12 Media Days. “A real mullet has to be at least shoulder length, and you’ve got to have some curls in it.”  


Yes, all of this makes sense now. The semi-regular locker room dancingThe “Big Daddy” mug. All of it. Gundy is exclusively himself, which makes him fun. Yet, he falls under the radar in comparison to the Mike Leachs and Jim Harbaughs of the world. 

This still fits the Gundy mold, though. After all, he once less-famously played along side Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, arguably the best there ever was among running backs. 

In that vein, it can be easy to forget another thing about Gundy: he’s a damn fine football coach. In many ways we have wholly, and probably egregiously, underestimated him.