OSU football: Why Kasey Dunn stayed after being bypassed for offensive coordinator job again
STILLWATER — Kasey Dunn could’ve gone.
Oregon was interested in hiring him away from Oklahoma State. North Texas might have been, too. There were likely others who took a run at luring the Cowboys' wide receiver coach.
But Wednesday when the Cowboys report for preseason camp, Dunn will be there.
Consider it Mike Gundy’s best recruiting job of the offseason.
Dunn, you might remember, got a nice promotion including a new title and a sizable raise. That helped secure his commitment to the Cowboys for a ninth season.
But it doesn’t completely answer the question as to why Dunn stayed after getting passed over for OSU’s offensive coordinator job. After Mike Yurcich left for Ohio State, Dunn was a leading candidate to fill that offensive coordinator vacancy. He’d been in the OSU offense longer than anyone, and he’d established his credentials as a recruiter of talent and a developer of stars.
But Gundy again hired a young and largely unknown up-and-comer — last time Yurcich, this time Sean Gleeson — and denied Dunn a chance to oversee the offense. He wants to be a coordinator in hopes of one day being a head coach, but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards in Stillwater.
So, why stay?
Earlier this week after OSU’s annual media golf outing at Karsten Creek, I asked Dunn that very question.
“Like the kid that we’re trying to recruit here, it’s a really good fit for us, the Dunn family,” he said. “Both of my daughters, there was nowhere else they really wanted to go (for college). They’re both here. We’ve told ‘em they can go anywhere they want in the country as long as they can get admitted, and they both decided on Oklahoma State.
“My wife loves it here. She comes from a town of no stoplights, so it’s not like she needs Bon Marche or Nordstrom’s or something like that. She’s good with Walmart.”
“And we’ve got two Walmarts in Stillwater.”
He chuckled, but he was serious about how well OSU and Stillwater fit his family. He didn’t say so, but it fits him, too. He played his college ball at Idaho. Has family there, too. He loves to be outdoors and golf.
But of course, you can do those things lots of places.
While a lifestyle fit is nice for Dunn and his family, the most important thing is how he fits with the OSU football program. And despite the disappointment of not being the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator today, Dunn knows this is a good situation for him.
Just because he’s working with his third offensive coordinator doesn’t mean he’s working in his third offense. Gundy has decided his coordinators will learn the offense the Cowboys run, not the other way around.
“I know that the offense is going to stay Oklahoma State’s offense and it’s not shifting gears,” Dunn said. “If it were to go some other direction, if we decided to become a power football team and down downhill with isos and all that, it’d be hard to not go chase that other avenue.
“But we’re gonna throw it all over the yard, try to score points, try to get as many touchdowns as possible. That’s fun for a receivers coach.”
Important, too, are Dunn’s new responsibilities. In taking on the title of associate head coach, he has added more duties. More outside speaking engagements. More inside meetings with Gundy. More opportunities to pull back the curtain.
The big picture on recruiting, for example, is something Dunn is getting to see more fully.
“What is the message he wants to convey?” Dunn said of Gundy. “Where are we going with Cowboy culture? How does he see this thing working and the trickle-down effect from the top?”
Dunn hopes those are the sorts of insights that will help him reach his ultimate goal of being a head coach.
Maybe they keep him in Stillwater a little longer, too.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said of being a head coach, “but at the same time, it’s got to be the right time. Oklahoma State’s been great to us.
“This is not something I want to hit the fast-forward button on.”
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK or follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok.
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy is entering his 15th season in Stillwater, the second-longest tenure among Big 12 coaches. Several of his assistant coaches have lengthy tenures, too, including half who have been at OSU at least five years. Here's a look at the OSU staff and their current run with the Cowboys:
Kasey Dunn, associate head coach/receivers, ninth season
Joe Bob Clements, defensive line, seventh
Tim Duffie, cornerbacks, seventh
Dan Hammerschmidt, safeties, fifth
Jason McEndoo, Cowboy backs, fifth
John Wozniak, running backs, third
Jim Knowles, defensive coordinator/linebackers, second
Greg Richmond, defensive line, second
Charlie Dickey, offensive line, first
Sean Gleeson, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, first