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Watch Now: Gundy on DC Jim Knowles: “I’m fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year.”
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Watch Now: Gundy on DC Jim Knowles: “I’m fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year.”

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Bedlam 2019 (copy)

Jim Knowles is in his fourth season in charge of the Oklahoma State defense. OSU head coach Mike Gundy said Monday he expects Knowles to be back with the Cowboys next season, and that extending his contract is a priority.

Nov. 29, 2021 video. Cowboys defense has been a large part of the team's success this season. Video courtesy/OSU Athletics

STILLWATER — Jim Knowles’ Oklahoma State defense smothered Oklahoma in the second half of the Cowboys’ 37-33 Bedlam victory Saturday night. On Monday, coach Mike Gundy predicted that his likely well sought-after defensive coordinator will be around to take another shot at the Sooners in 2022.

“I’m fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year,” Gundy said of Knowles. “I don’t know. The Green Bay Packers might 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.”

Gundy, who told Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt that he’d like to sign Knowles to a long-term extension earlier this month, reiterated his expectation of handing the 56-year old coordinator a new deal during his weekly press conference Monday.

“It’s been a priority all year,” Gundy said on extending Knowles’ contract. “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.”

Knowles — whose current contract pays him $800,000 per year — is in his fourth season in charge of the Cowboys’ defense. OSU closed the regular season ranked third in the country in total defense and leading the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and third-down defense, and holds a place in Saturday’s Big 12 title game in large part on the strength of Knowles’ group.

The Cowboys’ defensive success in 2021 has drawn Knowles national attention, and Monday he was named as one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant. Two of the last three Broyles Award winners — Mike Locksley and Steve Sarkisian — went on to head coaching jobs the next season.

Knowles served as the head coach at Cornell from 2004-09, and as of Monday, there were 11 head coaching jobs that remained open across college football. Among them is a vacancy left by David Cutcliffe at Duke, where Knowles was defensive coordinator from 2010-17 before arriving at OSU.

Knowles could also attract interest from other Power Five schools where new coaching staffs are being formed.

But Gundy believes Knowles will remain in Stillwater. His statements on Knowles came after the 17th-year head coach spoke about new athletic director Chad Weiberg, first-year university president Kayse Shrum and their shared vision of taking OSU to “another level.”

For Gundy, inking long-term contracts with assistants like Knowles is part of that vision.

“If you want to play with the big boys, and that’s your goal and that’s the philosophy of the people and the organization and the fans, you’ve got to get into the same boat,” Gundy said.

“So we’re going to do everything we can to keep him here within reason.”


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OSU Sports Writer

I cover Oklahoma State athletics for the Tulsa World. I have previously worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Emporia Gazette in Kansas and the Columbia Missourian. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2020 and am a native of Mamaroneck, NY.

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