College Sports

OSU’s Mike Gundy demanded answers on safety in his kid’s school. He ended up opening his wallet.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who is speaking to media in 2016 in this picture, went before the local school board in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and wanted to know what type of security was available in the schools.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who is speaking to media in 2016 in this picture, went before the local school board in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and wanted to know what type of security was available in the schools. Associated Press

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy watched the coverage of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School just like everyone else, and he’s concerned about the safety of this nation’s children, including those in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Gundy went before the school board for the Stillwater School District Wednesday night and quizzed the committee about what plan they had in place in the event of a rampage similar to the one that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

“My concern is the safety of our kids when we let them off at school,” Gundy said. “Do we have a plan in place and who is responsible for that? If something were to happen, do we feel good about it?”

Wearing a ball cap and blue jeans, Gundy wasn’t overly emotional as he addressed the school board. He came across as a genuinely concerned parent who just happens to be the most famous guy in a town of about 50,000.

Gundy has three sons, including Gunnar, who is a seventh-grader.

“I let one (child) off here every day,” Gundy said in a Youtube video posted Wednesday night. “We’ve never had this issue, but unfortunately it’s increasing. We see it on TV, on the computer and watch it on the news. I’ve been recruiting schools for 28 years, recruited all over the country — high schools, middle schools, junior highs, elementary schools, East Coast, West Coast, inner city, rural areas and yet have I ever been denied admission to the school.

“Do we have people in our schools to protect our kids? What is the answer and who is responsible for that?”

It didn’t seem that Gundy got the answer he was hoping for and toward the end of his remarks he said that he would be willing to dip into his own pocket to make sure that the school upgrades security on campuses in the school district.

He acknowledged the current difficulties for the Oklahoma public school system, including the potential of teachers going on strike in search of a pay hike.

“What a terrible feeling to hear that and know that you don’t have any protection,” Gundy said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get it started. I know these things take time. I don’t think we have time. I’m saying like fast, like two weeks, like yesterday. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but hopefully we get this worked out with the teachers and finish out the school year and do things like we’re capable of doing. Hopefully everybody comes together and it works out. But if not, I’d like to see this put in place and until we can factor in a budget for the next year I’m willing to foot the bill for the rest of the school year if we can protect our kids.”

Gundy said he initially hoped he could have a conversation with the school board behind closed doors, but he ended up speaking before crowd of about 200 people.

Gundy, who is in his 14th year as the OSU head coach, received a round of applause when he said he was willing to pay for extra security.

“That’s how important the little ones are to me,” Gundy said. “I know my 3 minutes are up, but I would just like for somebody to get back to me. You guys come up with a plan. If we can go out and hire whoever, there are people out there that know what they’re doing.”

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

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