I'll be the first to admit, when I first heard about this a week ago I laughed at the idea . It's not that Arkansas isn't a good job or that Gundy isn't ready for the SEC. Personally, I just never though Gundy would consider leaving his alma mater. After doing a little digging there are signs that could point to Gundy having some interest in the Arkansas job.
In December of 2011 Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World wrote that Mike Gundy was a strong candidate for the Texas A&M job. Sittler quoted a source close to Gundy that stated "He should have taken that plane to Texas A&M. Then he should have returned to OSU, loaded up his staff and taken them with him." Sittler continued to quote from a source that stated Gundy was "angry and frustrated" with the way AD Mike Holder was handling Gundy's contract a month after the best regular season in Oklahoma State history.
The article by Sittler isn't the first time I've heard their being friction between Holder and Gundy. Would it be enough for Gundy to leave his alma mater? Maybe not, but it's happened with coaches in the past and Hog fans will be familiar with one example . After finishing 20-4 in 88 & 89 Ken Hatfield left his alma mater to coach at Clemson. In the end it probably wasn't the best move for Hatfield as he new won over the Clemson fans, but he was willing to take a chance and move on to a new challenge.
Is Gundy ready for a new challenge? There are hints to suggest he might be. A month ago on October 7th Mike Gundy went into a lengthy discussion about how he sees the SEC changing in the next 5 years. Gundy, inside Boone Pickens Stadium stated that “I think that in five years, you’re going to see the SEC playing offensive football like this league(the Big XII),” “At some point, you line up and say, ‘How in the world are we going to move the ball on these guys?’…When you watch a good defense like the ones you are talking about in the SEC, Alabama, LSU, you don’t really see any matchups that fire you up,” Gundy explained. “But I know that I’m not fired up at all if I have to play inside the hashmarks. That makes me really miserable. I’d rather get them all spread out and try to hit some lanes.”
Gundy even mentioned Arkansas in part of his discussion about the future of the SEC “A&M’s already doing it,” Gundy said. “From what I saw, Georgia’s running a number of plays no huddle from the line. So is Tennessee. LSU’s not going to, Florida, I didn’t watch them play. Arkansas was moving fast with Petrino," Is there a desire in Gundy to prove that his offense can be the one to solve Saban's defenses? It seems as if Gundy is confident that the conference is nearing a change in the style it plays.
Still not convinced about Gundy? Well, did you know the following? In 2000 Boise State Head Coach Dirk Koetter was Oklahoma State's Head Coach for 24 hours, but then pulled a Dana Altman by returning to Boise 24 hours later. This move by Koetter led to Les Miles being hired under the condition that Mike Gundy would be his offensive coordinator. Last month Gundy was asked what would've happened to him had Koetter been hired “Well, I would have gone to Arkansas and worked for (Houston) Nutt, because that's where I was going,” Gundy said last month. Gundy nearly called the Hogs in 2000, could he once again be considering a move to Fayetteville?
Gundy fits what seems to be the profile Hog fans are looking for in a coach. Gundy has won a BCS bowl game, has an exciting offensive system, and can recruit Texas. He's also a national name that is sort of a cult hero to some for his "I'm a man" rant early in his career at OSU. Arkansas may be able to land a bigger name, but Gundy meets all qualifications and is as close to Northwest Arkansas as any other proven coach could be.
Mike Gundy's agent is Jimmy Sexton, who is famous for putting his clients names around job openings. This could certainly be the case with Gundy, but there are some clues to why Gundy might consider a move. In the last month Gundy has had a discussion about the future of the SEC and has mentioned he nearly took an Arkansas assistant job in 2000. Is a bad relationship with Holder enough to move Gundy 185 miles to the East?