STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy spoke Tuesday about TCU’s improved quarterback and typically strong secondary and his own receiver corps and Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Then, for a few minutes, he spoke about his late father-in-law, Danny Strickland.
Strickland died Sept. 12 at the age of 71 after a difficult battle with amyloidosis, which shut down his kidneys. Gundy staged a press briefing after practice Tuesday because Strickland’s memorial service on Monday preempted his usual weekly press conference. Gundy even spoke during the service.
“Well, it’s tough,” Gundy said. “It’s really the first parent — I’ve been lucky; I still have my parents. And Kristen’s dad, Danny, he was one of my best friends. We were complete opposites. But he taught me a lot about life. He knew that I needed some guidance off the field, and in his very inconspicuous way, he did that. He and I became very close friends during that time. And it’s tough, you know?
“It all settled in last night. Once you’re home from a funeral and everybody showers and you get ready to go to bed, and then it hits you. And it’s difficult. But he’s in a much better place right now.
“I couldn’t be any more proud to have spent 39 years of my life with him. We’ll take care of Karen, his wife of 51 years, I think, we’ll take care of her here. She lives here in town. So it all went very well yesterday, and we’re thankful for all the people who passed along thoughts and prayers.”
How, exactly, were Danny Strickland and Mike Gundy opposites?
“Well, I was a little bit out of control and wild at times, and he was pretty much by the book and squared away all his life, and I don’t know that I was,” Gundy said. “But he did a really good job of training me at a young age and helping me in areas and exposing me to things that I hadn’t been exposed to at times in my life, and it’s been good for me.”
Gundy has three sons, so he’ll probably never fully comprehend the duties of a bride’s father.
“Yeah, and I’m sure at some point he probably thought his daughter had completely lost her mind,” Gundy said with a laugh.
“I’ve been here so long, they’re essentially like parents to me,” Gundy said. “So it’s very, very difficult. But knowing that he’s in a better place makes me feel a lot better.”
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.