As the Summer of Gundy continues, it’s time to plan ahead.
Oklahoma State’s football coach is coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the rant that made him famous.
Oh, Gundy was fairly renowned before The Rant (it’s a proper noun, you know). He was the Big Eight Conference’s all-time leader in career offense from his days as a Cowboy quarterback, and he had some extremely prolific teams as OSU’s offensive coordinator under Les Miles.
But Gundy became truly famous the same way everybody does nowadays: he became a YouTube sensation, a viral video, a catchphrase.
“Come after me! I’m a man! I’m 40!”
Well in just three weeks, on Aug. 12, Mike Gundy turns 50. And that means on Sept. 22, at approximately 6:50 p.m., The Rant turns 10.
“It really was kind of a turning point for us at Oklahoma State in recruiting,” Gundy said last week at Big 12 Media Days. “It opened up so many doors for us with parents and people of young people that we were recruiting that appreciated that.”
Directly to Gundy’s point, his career record before The Rant was 12-15 (.444). Since the rant, including that crazy 49-45 victory over Texas Tech (The Rant was premeditated, after all, so we must count it), he’s 92-35 (.724). That winning percentage is far and away second-best among Big 12 Conference coaches during that time behind Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.
The Rant is 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pure gold. One version has drawn more than 3.6 million views. It isn’t the daily conversation piece is used to be. It once defined Gundy, at least to those who don’t know him personally. But it still comes up from time to time.
Gundy said his youngest son was recently playing in a baseball tournament in Omaha and they went to a College World Series game between LSU and Florida. He said a couple of fans from each school — who obviously knew their college football — came over to shoot the breeze, and The Rant was brought up.
“They came over and they were having a good time, I took pictures with them — they were 20-30 beers over the limit, but we had a good time — and that’s really the only time I’ve kind of heard it the last few years,” Gundy said. “Because the generation that would bring it up, they’re all upper-30s now.”
A refresher: after the Cowboys suffered an embarrassing 41-23 loss at Troy to fall to 1-2, an OSU beat writer waiting by the team buses observed quarterback Bobby Reid — who had his hands full on his way out of the stadium — taking a bite of food that his mother was holding up for him. Reid had started the first two games of the season, but was benched and didn’t play at all against Troy as Zac Robinson emerged as the starter. The following Saturday, a newspaper columnist wrote that Reid’s being hand-fed by his momma was a sign that the QB was soft.
Gundy singled out the columnist as he defended Reid (he even got a little too personal a time or two, but they’ve since made nice), but the whole scene didn’t end well. Reid was benched, then transferred, then basically said The Rant “ended my life.”
Yet Gundy gained a following that translated well beyond social media. It boosted his Q rating with media, made him famous with the public and gave him hero status with recruits and their families.
And, with Gundy as the face of the OSU program, Cowboy football also took off.
So would Gundy — now a media darling with his infamous mullet and his clever promo videos and rattlesnake hunts and his own personal PR team to document his trips to the ESPN “car wash” — ever go ballistic on the media again if the occasion called for it?
“No,” he said. “I think things through a lot better than I did. I think patience has become a big part of my life in a lot of areas. You deal with players’ off-the-field issues, game-day decisions, at home, with my kids, and at that time I was young, energetic, all the different things you do at that age. But now, I think — not that I wouldn’t have been frustrated, but I would have not ever reacted like that now like I did then.
“What I want the players to know is you can’t get too worked up over the situation. I’ve learned that over the last four or five years.”
And what about a 10-year commemoration of The Rant That Made Mike Gundy Famous? Maybe another promotional video that recreates the magic? Heck, he could even wear a singlet, or maybe a rattlesnake. Or what about a remake of The Rant with a camera isolated on The Mullet — a Mulletcam?
“I don’t know if I could do that or not,” Gundy said. “Now, my 15-year-old could. He’s good. He’s got the capability of winning a talent show at the junior high by doing it. But I don’t know if I could do it or not. Probably not.”
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.