In a shocking overnight development, Oklahoma’s longest-serving assistant coach is stepping down.
Cale Gundy, who has been involved with the program as both a record-breaking quarterback, tireless assistant and blue-chip recruiter, tweeted that “it is with great pain that I announce my retirement.”
Gundy’s decision comes after an incident he detailed in a lengthy post:
“I owe it to Sooner Nation to be transparent about what led to this decision,” he wrote. “Last week during a film session I instructed my players to take notes. I noticed that one player was distracted, took his iPad and read aloud the words written on his screen. The word displayed had nothing to do with football. A certain word came up on this screen that I shouldn’t have uttered under any circumstances. At that moment I wasn’t even aware of what I was reading and as soon as I did I was horrified.
“I want to be very clear: the words I read aloud from this screen were not my words. What I said wasn’t malicious; it wasn’t even intentional.
“Nevertheless, I’m mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, regardless of my intentions.”
Head coach Brent Venables also posted on social media to confirm Gundy’s departure.
“It is with sadness that I accept Coach Gundy’s resignation,” said Venables. “He has dedicated more than half his life to football in Oklahoma and has served our program and university well. We are grateful for this commitment. In coaching and in life, we are all accountable for our actions and the results that come from them.
“The culture we are building in our program is based on mutual respect. Our staff are here to develop successful student-athletes as well as young men of character. As leaders of this program, it’s important that we hold ourselves to the highest standards as we set an example for our players to be the kind of young men we want them to be.”
The OU soccer team reported to preseason training camp last Thursday and began training on Friday. At last week’s media day Tuesday, Gundy reiterated his springtime affirmation that the OU program is in a better place than ever.
“In my 24 years here as a coach, this program is in the best position I’ve ever seen,” Gundy said. “I really think so.”
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In Sunday’s statement, Gundy said the current team and its members “do not deserve to be distracted by off-field matters as they work to continue the tradition of excellence that makes me so proud to be a Sooner.” I will not do the program I love to distract from this mission. I resign with immediate effect.”
Gundy, who coaches OU wide receivers after a stellar run as the Sooners running backs coach, said, “It’s with a heavy heart that I leave this sideline.”
After Gundy’s big brother Mike went to Oklahoma State and became a record quarterback for the Cowboys, Cale enrolled at Midwest City High School where he was the No. 1 recruit in the state and the top 5th national quarterback contender, to OU, where he played for Gary Gibbs for four years.
Gundy started for 3 1/2 years and was the key figure that took OU attacking football out of the wishbone era and into a new age of passing. From 1990 to 1993, Gundy set nearly every OU passing record, including career pass attempts (751), career completions (420), career yards (6,142), career touchdowns (35), and career total Offense (6,389). He also established the OU career with 31 interceptions and 200- and 300-yard plays and owned the most single-game and single-season marks.
His team’s record in games was Gundy, the quarterback of 24-12-2.
Gundy, who held the official title of co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach during his 23rd and final season in 2021, was OU’s student assistant in 1994 before coaching quarterbacks at UAB in 1995 and running backs from 1996-1998.
In December 1998, Bob Stoops hired Gundy to coach running backs and lead his recruiting efforts in Oklahoma and Texas. He was director of recruitment at Stoops from 2004 to 2016, a post he held for two years under Lincoln Riley.
In all, Gundy played or coached in 353 games as the Sooner, believed to be the most in school history. Longtime assistant Merv Johnson worked as a coach and radio analyst for a streak of 513 consecutive games.
Gundy was also a standout baseball player for the Sooners and was a pitcher on OU’s 1992 College World Series team.
In Gundy’s legacy, the stories of his recruitment of Adrian Peterson of Palestine, TX remain at the forefront. Gundy and Stoops famously visited Peterson’s father in federal prison, and Gundy told the nation’s No. 1 prospect in 2004 that the Sooners would win with him or without him, and Peterson soon committed to OU over Texas A&M and Texas.
Venables also said Gundy’s interim replacement would be assistant receivers coach and offensive analyst L’Damian Washington. Washington, 31, played collegiately in Missouri before making numerous brief forays into the NFL and other professional leagues. Venables hired Washington in January to assist Gundy in the Sooner wideouts.
Gundy, 50, just got a two-year contract extension and a $10,000 annual raise in March, taking his salary to $610,000 a year by 2024.