Mike Gundy challenged to get better recruiting classes

Longtime Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder would like to see football coach Mike Gundy aim higher in recruiting.

Appearing on the Pistols Firing podcast earlier this week, Holder praised Gundy's success but said he wants the coach "to do a little more in recruiting."

Gundy, a former Oklahoma State quarterback, is the school's career coaching wins leader with a 114-53 record in 13 seasons.

"He's really matured into a difference-maker as a coach," Holder said on the podcast. "I would approach recruiting a little differently than he does. I'd want to finish higher in those recruiting rankings than we consistently do. I think that ultimately puts a ceiling on what you're able to achieve."

Oklahoma State's 2018 recruiting class finished 32nd in ESPN's national rankings. Previous classes have ranked 35th, 46th, 34th, 28th and 27th. Gundy has coached the Cowboys to three consecutive 10-win seasons, six 10-win seasons in the past eight and six AP top-20 finishes since 2010.

"At the end of the day, Boone Pickens, Mike Holder and Mike Gundy all want the same thing," Holder said, referring to Oklahoma State alum and mega-booster Pickens, whose name is on the school's home stadium. "We may not always agree on the best course to get there, but at the end of the day, Boone Pickens and I have always deferred to Mike Gundy because he's the guy in charge. He's the one that will have the wins and losses next to his name in the record book, and that deserves autonomy over how you run your football program.

"I would just say, 'Mike, you've got to change your thinking on recruiting a little bit.' That would be all. I think sometimes we settle when we don't have to. But I'm not out there recruiting, and I have no idea how to recruit football players."

As fans commented on Twitter regarding Holder's statement, Gundy posted a simple tweet:

Holder played golf at Oklahoma State and served as the school's men's golf coach from 1973 to 2005, when he became athletic director.

Gundy was a top candidate for Tennessee's coaching vacancy in November before withdrawing his name as well as for the Tennessee vacancy in 2013. He won Big 12 Coach of the Year honors in 2010 and Eddie Robinson national coach of the year honors in 2011, when Oklahoma State went 12-1 and finished No. 3 nationally.