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Did Boone’s Comments Blindside Coach Gundy?

Did disparaging comments made earlier in the month by Boone Pickens catch Mike Gundy by surprise?

Getty Images - David Purdy

Boone Pickens and Mike Gundy are once again at odds. That was made clear yesterday when Boone told the MyStatesman that him and Gundy don’t talk anymore.

“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.”

The Oklahoma State mega-booster and the Cowboys head coach have had public spats before, but after a reconciliation last year, their rift seemed to be put behind them.

However, comments made earlier in the month by Pickens was our first sign that the two may be on the outs once again.

“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.”

Turns out, those comments may have caught coach Gundy off guard. Kyle Porter with Pistols Firing Blog took a second look at them and recalled some conversations he had with local media at the time.

“Boone hesitated after he responded to an expansion question,” said Haisten. “He paused just for a second and he said, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘it’s been 11 years since I gave my big gift. I never said they had to win. I said they had to be competitive. And they’re competitive against everybody but OU.’

“I just thought, ‘what?!’ This is a guy that wanted to make a statement. He wanted to come here and say this for whatever reason 17 months after the peace accord at the practice facility. Within the context of OSU football, [that peace accord] was a big deal. I remember quoting an OSU official, and he said ‘I think we will remember this as having been a really important day.’ Because those guys hadn’t spoken, hadn’t made eye contact, in over three years at that point. There was this Cold War rift.

“For Boone to roll that back out there [before Southeastern Louisiana] I thought was staggering. I was surprised Boone did it. I’m not sure what purpose it served. I thought OSU’s media people might brief Mike before his postgame. They didn’t. He wasn’t asked about it. I wasn’t going to ask him about it until I walked him to the locker room. I did walk him down the hall, and I mentioned it to him. He was upset. He wouldn’t comment on the record, but he was obviously bothered by it. Whether there’s been any dialogue between the OSU football office and Dallas subsequent to that, I don’t know.””

Whenever Boone takes a shot at Gundy, he likes to reference his record against Oklahoma. I’m not sure Sooner fans get as much use out of it.

To complicate matters even more, Boone very publicly supported former Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford a year ago. The same Travis Ford that, at the time, had finished above 6th place in the conference just once in seven years, and had lost the last five games against the Sooners. All Gundy has done is average 10 wins a season for the last six seasons, win OSU’s first Big 12 title in football, win the school’s only BCS bowl appearance, and was a missed field goal away from the National Title game.

Was it an ego move to block the reported attempted buyout of Ford’s contract by other boosters? Was it just another way to get under Gundy’s skin? Or did Boone Pickens truly support a coach the rest of the fan base had long given up on? We’ll probably never know, but as Kyle points out, there is most likely more to the story, and I’m sure we haven’t heard the last from T. Boone Pickens.

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