Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who became an instant celebrity with his “I’m a Man, I’m 40″ rant on YouTube, said his famous tirade to defend one of his former players is helping the Cowboys with recruiting future players. Even Gundy admits he never anticipated the recruiting benefits from the emotional outburst which got so popular it was the punchline for jokes.
“No, I didn’t expect it, in any way, shape, form or fashion,” Gundy told the AJC. “It’s interesting since that day, which happened on impulse in my opinion, to protect and take care of one of our players, I didn’t have any idea that it would take off like this. From that point on, for good or bad, I’ve become very recognizable across the country.”
“In turn, what has has happened in the last couple of years in recruiting, it has helped us tremendously. I think the parents of these young men understand that ‘If my son goes to play at Oklahoma State, the coach is going to do whatever he can to take care of him.’ No, we didn’t know that [recruiting benefits] would happen. But it certainly has been a huge impact. It’s name recognition. Moms and Dads want to know wherever their son goes to school, that those coaches are going to take care of them. And when they go to Oklahoma State. They know that’s going to happen.”
Gundy, who is now 41, is a big name in Big 12 country for his coaching accomplishments. However, when Oklahoma State invades new recruiting territories, such as Georgia, Gundy’s newfound fame may give him an advantage with prized prospects. Oklahoma State landed three of Georgia’s top prospects last month, including Walton fullback David Paulsen, who signed with the Cowboys over a last-minute offer from childhood favorite UGA. The Bulldogs play at Oklahoma State in the season opener on Sept. 5.
“I always remembered that there was this coach who freaked out on TV, but I never really looked into it at the time,” Paulsen said. “Then an assistant coach who was recruiting me for Duke went to Oklahoma State. I went ‘Oh yeah, that’s the school with that one coach from TV.’ I remembered it was [Gundy]. When I looked into it closely, it wasn’t him just freaking out on the press. It was for the right reasons.”
“I’ve seen quotes from Moms and Dads of [players] saying ‘Good, he’s going to protect my son.’ It was a big plus for me. [Gundy] really does care about his players. He’s not afraid to be honest, especially with millions of people watching. It meant a lot to me, knowing that when you go to a school, the coach isn’t going to bail on you in hard times. He’s going to stick up for you when you’re doing good, and he’s going to stick up for you when you’re down. It’s something that is a really good thing. A lot of coaches aren’t like that. They are going to throw you to the wolves. [Gundy] is not like that.”
Gundy’s rant occurred after Oklahoma State’s 49-45 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 22, 2007. In the aftermath, Gundy started screaming about an article in the The Oklahoman mentioning reasons why quarterback Bobby Reid may have been demoted. Reid later claimed that Gundy’s rant “basically ended my life,” according to ESPN the Magazine.
WATCH THE VIDEO: Gundy’s 2007 press conference outburst
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