It’s no secret that T. Boone Pickens’ support helped launch Oklahoma State to a new level in athletics. Just look around Stillwater, his thumb print is on just about everything and his name is on the football stadium.
It’s also no secret that Boone and Gundy haven’t exactly gotten along over the past few years, and that relationship doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In an interview on the MyStatesman podcast “On Second Thought”, Boone said that he doesn’t talk with Gundy and that Gundy “doesn’t handle people relationships very well”.
“I don’t have any conversations with Gundy,” he said. Is there a rift? “I don’t know, but Mike doesn’t handle people relationships very well. And he gets mad about things. I’ve heard he’s written some notes about me that weren’t very complimentary.”
This comes following comments coach Gundy made in the weekly conference call on Monday where he was asked about his old boss Les Miles.
“He said,” Gundy said quoting something Mike Leech had told him. “‘You just hang around a place long enough as a coach, they’re eventually going to get tired of you and fire you.’ I think that’s probably the best example of what happened yesterday.”
That’s an interesting comment considering this is his 12th season at Oklahoma State.
This isn’t the first time the two have been open about their contentious relationship, which only seemed to get worse as Gundy flirted with job opportunities at Arkansas, Tennessee, and Florida.
They Didn’t Get Along In 2014
There is no question that Gundy has brought unprecedented success to Oklahoma State. He’s the winningest coach in the school’s history, and brought the school its first Big 12 Championship in football. However, if there’s one area he hasn’t had the same success in, it’s Bedlam. Something Pickens publically noted in 2014.
“You look at the other schools we play, and we’re competitive,” Pickens said in 2014. “The only one we haven’t been competitive with is OU. Like last year, we’re a 10-point favorite and lose. … We need to do better on OU.”
Then in November of 2014, when asked if Boone still supports Gundy as head coach, he replied that he supports Oklahoma State.
“I’m certainly supportive of Oklahoma State University,” Boone replied. “I’m always going to be for OSU, I don’t care who coaches ‘em.”
To which Gundy replied:
“I don’t need anybody to tell me that they like me or dislike me,” he said. “I don’t really care. I just like to coach my guys and keep playing ball. I don’t know what to say. He’s old enough to make his own comments now, right? I can’t control what he says.”
The two might not be speaking now, but they’ve actually gone through this before. After the public spat in 2014, Gundy said that the two don’t speak, but seemingly opened the door to repair the relationship.
“We haven’t really had any communication.” Gundy said. “I don’t know what his thought is, but I would like for there to be more communication.”
Things Were Good In 2015
By April of 2015 their relationship seemed to have improved, as both sides acknowledged the need to reconcile their differences.
“I enjoy the conversations, the relationship that he and I had at one time.”Gundy said. “We went through a couple years where we didn’t have communication. It wasn’t good for Oklahoma State, and it wasn’t enjoyable for me. We’ve worked on it over the last four months, and I would anticipate it to be good for the remaining time of my career.”
And Boone denied being on “bad terms” before, but said the two had fallen out of communication, but were working on it because they both want to beat OU. Well, that and athletic director Mike Holder told them to.
“[We weren’t on] bad terms; we just fell out of communication,” Boone said. “Holder, he said, ‘Look, you guys need to start talking again.’ That was kinda it. […] You can’t disagree with [the idea that OSU is bigger than Gundy or Pickens], because it gets back to we want the same thing: we want to beat OU.”
By January of this year, the two were practically best buds. (Not really, but their differences seemed to be behind them.)
“I’ll go by and see (Pickens),”Gundy told the Oklahoman. “Probably take him to dinner.
“All that’s been good. It was certainly a really good move for me to extend myself and reignite the relationship.
“Boone wants to win 14 games, and so do I.”
Oklahoma State Loses Bedlam, Again
Beating the Sooners, or not, seems to be the determining factor on whether or not T. Boone Pickens will support the coach of Oklahoma State, regardless of any other success on the field.
After a 10-0 start last season, which largely felt like overachieving, the Cowboys fell to the Sooners and lost their remaining three games. Something Pickens referenced earlier this month when he, once again, threw shade at coach Gundy.
“I would like to beat OU,” Pickens said. “Mike has struggled with that game. I think he’s 2-9, so we’re not competitive with OU. By golly, we beat Texas. We’re the only team that has beaten Texas four in a row in Austin. If we can beat Texas, we sure ought to beat OU.
“[Former Cowboy coach] Les Miles beat OU, didn’t he? Two out of four? Yeah. That’s competitive.”
And now the two aren’t talking again.
Les Miles did beat Oklahoma two out of four seasons. He also never intended to stay at Oklahoma State and focused on beating OU to catapult himself into a better job. And when his phone rang at halftime of the Alamo Bowl, it was the last game he coached for the Cowboys. But perhaps, Boone has forgotten about that.