STILLWATER — Mike Gundy has had to work at keeping previous offensive coordinators in town, but he is treading some new water on the defensive side of the ball.
Oklahoma State is 11-1 and heading to its first Big 12 championship game off strong defensive play under defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. Reports surfaced Sunday that new Florida coach Bill Napier was interested in Knowles as his DC in Gainesville, but Gundy said Monday he is confident in his new administration, with university president Kayse Shrum and athletic director Chad Weiberg, that OSU can pay Knowles what he has earned in order to keep him in Stillwater.
“I am fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year,” Gundy said. “I don’t know, I mean, the Green Bay Packers may offer him $3 million. I can’t say for sure, but within reason, I’m very, very certain that he’ll be coaching here next year.”
On Monday, Knowles was named one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s best coach. Knowles’ group ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense, third in total defense, and is tops in third-down percentage and sacks.
Gundy has praised Weiberg and Shrum a lot since they took over this summer, and Gundy has also made many references to OSU taking that next step as an athletic department to compete more nationally. Finding a way to retain Knowles would be a part of that.
“Well, it’s been a priority all year. It’s not a matter of finding a way to keep him, it’s a matter of providing him with something that puts him at a level that he deserves to be at based on his success.
“If you want to play with the big boys, and that’s your goal and that’s the philosophy of the people in the organization and fans, you got to get into the same boat. If you want to get in the boat then get in the boat. If you don’t, then don’t expect it. We’re gonna do everything we can to keep in here within reason, but we also understand my responsibility is to be feasable with the resources that we have available and be fair with the administration and decisions they have to make based on the resources they have available. But there is a side of it where you have to decide whether you want to play in the big games or not moving forward.”
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