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OSU's Gundy deflects link to interest in Florida coaching opening in November

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Big 12 Championship Game: Oklahoma State vs Baylor (copy)

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had little to say Monday about a report of his interest in November in the then-open Florida coaching position.

Dec. 13, 2021 video. The Playstation Fiesta Bowl is the matchup between these two programs. Video courtesy/OSU Athletics

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy responded on Monday to a report that indicated the 17th-year coach expressed interest in the University of Florida head coaching job through a representative ahead of the Cowboys’ 37-33 Bedlam win last month.

"One thing is I never answer to Twitter,” Gundy said Monday afternoon. “Two: I'm unaware of any email. And three: I don't have an agent."

Gundy’s response stemmed from a Sunday report from Warner Media’s Andy Wittry, which included an email sent to Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin from an agent claiming to represent Gundy and his interest in the Gators’ top job before OSU’s win over Oklahoma on Nov. 27. Florida fired former head coach Dan Mullen on Nov. 21.

Wittry confirmed to the Tulsa World Monday that the email was obtained through a public records request.

“My name is Devin Bonik and I represent Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy,” the email to Stricklin read. “I’m reaching out to let you know Mike is very interested in the head coaching vacancy at the University of Florida.

“...Mike has turned down the Florida State and Arkansas jobs and the Tennessee job twice, however he feels the timing is now right to make a career move to a special place like Florida where you can compete for national championships on a consistent basis. He has gotten a reputation in the past that he wouldn’t ever leave his alma mater, however I can assure you that is not the case anymore.”

The pitch for Gundy included his coaching tree, a list of accolades, including his 16 consecutive bowl game appearances, and comparisons to coaches such as LSU's Brian Kelly, Penn State's James Franklin, Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin.

"Please let me know if there's any interest on your end and as always we'd appreciate confidentiality in regards to this matter," the opening statement concluded. "Thank you."

Bonik is the owner of Bonik Sports Group, a privately owned, Houston-based firm which represents “coaches in their pursuit of finding better jobs and salaries”, according to the company website. Per his bio page, Bonik played under Jimmy Johnson at OSU. He later served as a graduate assistant for the Cowboys.

Gundy said Monday that Bonik “used to be here” during his time as a player in the late 1980s and acknowledged that he knows Bonik.

"He was here with (former OSU defensive end) Dexter Manley,” Gundy said. "He's in our circle. A lot of people know him."

According to the Bonik Sports Group website, Bonik spent 15 years operating a summer football camp business before working in the NFL; Gundy is featured on a list of coaches who served as instructors for Bonik’s camps. Bonik later spent 11 years in roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons before launching his sports representation business in 2015.

Bonik Sports Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment Monday.

Gundy has previously flirted with Florida. Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported in September that Gundy expressed interest in the Gators' opening in 2017 "through intermediaries" and spoke twice about the job with Stricklin.

Oklahoma State announced an agreement with Gundy to a perpetual, five-year rollover contract this fall on Oct. 22. Asked Monday if he knew how the email from Bonik to Stricklin came to be?

“No,” Gundy said. “And I'm not a big fan of answering to Twitter.”

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OU beat Writer

I came to the Tulsa World as an intern in 2019, returned in Aug. 2021 and now cover the Sooners with Eric Bailey. I'm a New Yorker, a graduate of the University of Missouri and an avid soccer (read: fútbol) fan. Let's talk: eli.lederman@tulsaworld.com

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