John E. Hoover: Is Mike Boynton ready for The Mike Boynton era in Stillwater? Are OSU fans?

John E. Hoover: Is Mike Boynton ready for The Mike Boynton era in Stillwater? Are OSU fans?

Mike Boynton (right) sits with former OSU coach Brad Underwood. Boynton was named as Underwood’s successor on Friday. (PHOTO: Jackson Lavarnway/O’Colly)

Welcome, Mike Boynton, to Oklahoma.

Oh wait. You were already here?

You’ve lived in Stillwater for a year — almost exactly a year — before being hired on Friday as Oklahoma State University’s next men’s basketball coach?

Well, darn. Sorry about that. We hope you’ll forgive us if we didn’t know your name before OSU athletic director Mike Holder promoted you in a surprising and, well, whirlwind hire.

OK, we actually knew your name. But only to the extent that you were one of the Cowboys’ assistant coaches that Brad Underwood brought with him from Stephen F. Austin, and you were one of the five men given a formal interview Thursday to replace Underwood, who shockingly bolted for Illinois last weekend, and that you coached with him at South Carolina after your playing days as a Gamecock.

That’s it. That’s really all we knew about you before today.

You clearly blew the search committee’s socks off in your interview. To have no head coaching experience among your 12 seasons in the Division I coaching ranks, to be on the sideline of a Power 5-school for all of one season, to be just 35 years old, to not be “an OSU guy” — you must have been spectacular.

And frankly, spectacular is exactly what OSU needs — particularly in recruiting.

You have to admit, Holder went against the grain in this one.

He didn’t go with popular, like former Eddie Sutton point guard and people’s choice Doug Gottlieb would have been.

He didn’t go with mobile like Tom Crean or Kelvin Sampson might have been (at least the first time they ran afoul of Holder’s methods; who saw that coming from Underwood?).

He didn’t go with proven, like Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall or Creighton’s Greg McDermott or Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams, or even a little less proven, like SMU’s Tim Jankovich UT-Arlington’s Scott Cross or Middle Tennessee State’s Kermit Davis.

All of those men, and lots of others, wanted the job, sources told The Franchise. But none of those men got more than Gottlieb, who received an interview, along with with OSU sideline veteran James Dickey and Underwood aides Danny Henderson and Lamont Evans. But Gottlieb and his legions experienced heartbreak for the second year in a row as he tried to step outside of his broadcasting career to steer his alma mater.

The big names, of course, weren’t interested in taking significant a pay cut to work within Holder’s budget. That ruled them out immediately. Some of those at mid-majors knew they might be making a lateral move salary-wise, and, well, we all know college basketball coaches aren’t really into fond of lateral moves when it comes to money.

So, Coach Boynton, the OSU program and all of its loyal and true tradition is in your hands. The Mike Boynton era in Stillwater has begun. Think about that for just another moment.

“Oklahoma State is one of the premier basketball programs in the country,” you said in the school’s statement Friday announcing your hire. “To have this opportunity given to me by coach Holder and the OSU administration is something I could have only dreamed of. I’m very thankful and grateful to the players here, to the guys that I have played and worked with throughout my life, and to the Oklahoma State family for welcoming me and my family over the last year.”

Cowboy fans across the country are, shall we say, curious about you. They have no idea who you are, but they’re willing to learn. They spent Friday afternoon and evening researching your name, your background (you really need a Wikipedia page) and your resume. They actually sound quite excited to discover more, to meet you, to follow your recruiting strategies, to see your offensive preferences and your defensive schemes, to understand whether you’re going to foul early up three or let it play out. They can’t wait to see how you match wits with the likes of Bill Self and Bob Huggins and even Scott Drew.

You’re ready for all that, aren’t you? Of course you are. You won the job interview.

OSU fans have no reason to believe you won’t be successful at Oklahoma State — because there’s really no evidence yet that you will or won’t.

Holder understands the risks in making such a hire. But Orange Nation is more than eager to follow you and find out for themselves.

We know you’ve already been here a short while, but welcome anyway. And good luck.


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.


Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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