The Fifth Down

President's column:
Coach Gundy's rant out of bounds

I did not know Mike Gundy as a player. I do not know Mike Gundy as a coach.

Like most others, all I know of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy is what I saw replayed on ESPN, and that is to know a man who failed to control his emotions in a professional press setting.

Lights, camera and action, indeed!

Earlier this week I issued a statement on behalf of the FWAA condemning coach Gundy's actions as inappropriate.

Defending a player is fine. Confronting a columnist or a reporter is also within the bounds of acceptability.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
President's column: Gundy out of bounds
Sugar Bowl well prepared
Sugar Bowl names Lewis director of communications
Chappin chosen Rose Bowl media director

But screaming in a bug-eyed rage for three minutes is hardly a means of effective communication. What about the other media members present to cover the event? They walked away from a post-game soap opera without comments on the game that their publication/ channel/website paid for them to attend with money generated from advertisers/ subscribers/viewers.

I stand by my judgment: Inappropriate.

If Gundy's desire was to defend or protect his player, why do so in such a way as to call national attention to the column in question?

The alternative would have been to handle the matter in another setting, in a professional manner, and let the Cowboys' players and fans enjoy the fruits of a hard-fought 49-45 shootout victory over Texas Tech.

Instead, the game was overshadowed, and coach Gundy's legacy has become that of a loose cannon.

Perhaps that's not fair, but that is the perception, and as we all know, perception can quickly overcome reality when one gets caught in, seeks out or recklessly wanders into the national spotlight.

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy

Coach Gundy encouraged reporters to take him on.

Many have obliged, seeing a 40-year-old man whose inability to control his emotions indicate he's in over his head and doesn't know how to handle the media.

As for Gundy's value as a leader, does he want his players to follow his lead and shout down anyone women included who dares oppose their views?

Many fans have e-mailed me, expressing disagreement with the FWAA's condemnation of Gundy's behavior. Many suggest I was merely defending one of our own.

So, to better serve the public at-large, I asked Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, a former president of the American Football Coaches Association and one of the winningest coaches in college football history, how he felt about Gandy's rant.

Here was Fulmer's reply:

"In my 15 years as a head football coach, I have learned a lot about dealing with the media. I respect that they have a job to do, and some do it differently than others.

"The game of football is a very emotional and passionate game. We establish bonds with players and coaches, much as a parent and child. We see them with their helmets off, as young people growing and learning with experience.

"However, it is important for us to know where emotion should end, and composure and good example and representation takes control.

GRIFFITH STATEMENT
ON GUNDY (SEPT. 24)
"I consider Coach Gundy's behavior completely inappropriate. It shows a lack of respect for the media and doesn't speak well for the university and the fans that he represents. Coach Gundy's actions have brought national attention and further scrutiny to the situation that could have been handled in a more private and appropriate manner."

"I enjoy some columns more than others, and if a coach should critique the columnist you may have a columnist going on a tirade as well. In either case (coach or columnist), tirades are usually not the right course to take or the correct example to the very young men we are trying to influence."

OK, Fulmer is a conservative veteran coach. So how about what Terry Bowden, former Auburn coach and one of the bolder coaches I have covered?

"All coaches have feelings that we want to express passionately, even strongly, in public, and yet we know we can't.

"At times, we wish we could tell fans how they should act, and tell writers how they should write, and we can't because they are doing their jobs, and we need to do ours.

"As much as any of us would applaud coach Gundy's intent to defend his players, none of us can agree with his tactics and timing. As much as I appreciate his passion for his players, there was only one person who crossed the line.

"I read the column. It was close whether she was getting into something that was iffy, but that was her prerogative.

"I had a good mentor, my father (Florida State coach Bobby Bowden), and his method was much less adversarial, and has been that way throughout his career.

"In reflection, I doubt coach Gundy feels he would do that again."

Let's hope so, Terry, for coach Gundy's sake, and the sake of the university and game he represents.

FWAA president Mike Griffith covers college football for the Knoxville News Sentinel. He can be reached at mgrif32@aol.com.

KEY FWAA CONTACTS

Bert McGrane Award nominees: Mark Blaudshun (blauds@aol.com)
Volney Meece Scholarship nominees: Dave Sittler (davesitt@aol.com)
Website, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week: Ted Gangi (webmaster@sportswriters.net)
Membership Directory: Charlie Fiss, AT&T Cotton Bowl (charlie@attcottonbowl.com)
Ethics/Press Relations Committee: Kirk Bohls (kbohls@statesman.com)
College Football Playoff Liaison: Gina Lehe, College Football Playoff (glehe@collegefootballplayoff.com)
Eddie Robinson Award: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Fifth Down Blog/FWAA Best Writing Contest: Ken Stephens (ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net)
Bronko Nagurski Award: John Rocco, Charlotte Touchdown Club (jrocco@touchdownclub.com)
Outland Trophy, All-America Team: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll: Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation (pmarwill@footballfoundation.org)
Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award: George Schroeder, USA TODAY (gschroeder@aol.com), Ron Higgins, Nola.com (rhigg@aol.com)
Freshman All-America Team: Mike Griffith, MLive Media Group (mgrif32@aol.com)

September 2013 | .pdf
July 2013 | .pdf
February 2013 | .pdf
December 2012 | .pdf
October 2012 | .pdf
September 2012 | .pdf
July 2012 | .pdf
February 2012 | .pdf
December 2011 | .pdf
October 2011 | .pdf
September 2011 | .pdf
August 2011 | .pdf
February 2011 | .pdf
December 2010 | .pdf
October 2010 | .pdf
August 2010 | .pdf
June 2010 | .pdf
January 2010 | .pdf
December 2009 | .pdf
October 2009 | .pdf
August 2009 | .pdf
July 2009 | .pdf
January 2009 | .pdf
December 2008 | .pdf
October 2008 | .pdf
August 2008 | .pdf
June 2008 | .pdf
January 2008 | .pdf
December 2007 | .pdf
October 2007 | .pdf
August 2007 | .pdf
June 2007 | .pdf
January 2007 | .pdf
December 2006 | .pdf
October 2006 | .pdf
August 2006 | .pdf
June 2006 | .pdf
January 2006 | .pdf
December 2005 (.pdf)
October 2005 (.pdf)
August 2005 (.pdf)
June 2005 (.pdf)
January 2005 (.pdf)
December 2004 (.pdf)
October 2004 (.pdf)
September 2004 (.pdf)
June 2004 (.pdf)
February 2004 (.pdf)
December 2003 (.pdf)
October 2003 (.pdf)
September 2003 (.pdf)
July 2003 (.pdf)
March 2003 (.pdf)
December 2002 (.pdf)
November 2002 (.pdf)
October 2002 (.pdf)
August 2002 (.pdf)
February 2002 (.pdf)
December 2001 (.pdf)
November 2001 (.pdf)
September 2001 (.pdf)
August 2001 (.pdf)
BEST VIEWED WITH FREE ADOBE READER X | EDITOR: KEN STEPHENS