Mike Gundy turns 50 on Saturday, which means he’s almost 10 years removed from his most infamous moment as Oklahoma State’s head coach.
Gundy made his notorious “I’m a man, I’m 40” rant Sept. 22 2007. He initially received a lot of criticism for the way he spoke to The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson at the time. However, he now tells ESPN’s Ryan McGee that the tirade has benefitted the football program immensely.
“At the time it happened, you would have never thought you’d ever hear anyone say this, but you know what? ‘I’m a man, I’m 40’ is the best thing that ever happened to Oklahoma State football,” Gundy said.
The rant brought the school lots of notoriety. And it actually played well with recruits, Gundy said. Parents saw the way Gundy defended his player and wanted their sons to play for a man like that, Gundy said.
“And most of the time it was a minority home, where we all know in America they still feel like they’re getting cheated,” he said. “That’s life. We can all try to act like that’s not true, but it’s true. Which, I could give a s— if they’re white, black, whatever. I want good kids. But if they think there’s a head coach that’s white who comes in there, and they really believe he’s really going to fight for their son, that’s to their advantage. That’s powerful. I don’t ever want to let that family down.”
Gundy said he has learned from the rant. He’s much more relaxed as a coach and doesn’t get so angry anymore. He has a professional relationship with Carlson, who still covers the team at times for The Oklahoman.
But he doesn’t mind people brining up the rant, because it helped out the program a lot and was the beginning of his maturation as a coach.
Oklahoma State opens the season at home against Tulsa on Thursday, Aug. 31.