Tennessee has made Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy their top priority in their head coaching search. And Tennessee has reportedly made their pitch to Gundy and await his decision.
According to both long-time college football reporter Brett McMurphy and ESPN reporter Chris Low, Tennessee has made their pitch to Gundy today in Dallas, Texas. And according to both, the Vols are expected to throw a great deal of money at Gundy.
Low says that Tennessee is prepared “to make Gundy one of the SEC’s highest-paid coaches” if he accepts the job. McMurphy states that “Tennessee could easily top” the $4.2 million annual salary that Gundy currently makes at Oklahoma State.
Both Low and McMurphy also claim that former Vol quarterback Peyton Manning contacted Gundy via phone call in the last week.
McMurphy states that a source told him that Gundy would “absolutely” take the Tennessee job and leave Oklahoma State while another source seemed to think the opposite. “You might as well say (Nick) Saban is up for the Rice job,” the source told Gundy. McMurphy also says that Florida spoke with Gundy about their head coaching position before they offered Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen the job. Mullen ultimately accepted.
Gundy hasn’t just been the head coach of Oklahoma State for the last 13 seasons; he also played there. Gundy played quarterback for Oklahoma State from 1986-89. He coached wide receivers for the Cowboys in 1990, switched positions to coach quarterbacks from 1991-93, and he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1994. He left in 1995 but ultimately returned to Oklahoma State in 2001 as the offensive coordinator and associate head coach. He then took the head coaching position in 2005 and has been the head coach since.
In 13 years with the Cowboys, Gundy has taken Oklahoma State to a bowl game in every season except for his first. He’s led Oklahoma State to 10 or more wins in five of the last eight seasons counting this season, and the Cowboys are currently 9-3 this year. Oklahoma State finished the 2011 season No. 3 in the nation and with a 12-1 record after a Fiesta Bowl victory.
We will update as more news comes out.