For about a year, Mike Gundy’s hair has been a party in the back and business in the front — and business has been good. The Oklahoma State football coach said Tuesday that his mullet has been worth “millions” to the Cowboys’ program.
Gundy might be right, given the amount of publicity the 49-year-old has received for his throwback look. Speaking of his age, September will mark the 10th anniversary of his famous “I’m a man! I’m 40!” rant, and he said Tuesday that infamous moment marked a “turning point” in recruiting.
The mullet has had a similarly positive impact. It has earned national attention and gotten love from other famous flaunters of the flowing ‘do, such as Billy Ray Cyrus and ESPN’s Barry Melrose. “I’m going to say that the dollar figure is somewhere in the millions for the amount of time that we’ve had on the air for that,” Gundy said Tuesday at Big 12 media days (via ESPN).
In his 13th season in Stillwater, Gundy is well aware of the difficulty of vying against conference heavyweights such as Oklahoma and Texas, and he said that the mullet helped “get our brand out there at Oklahoma State.” He added, “If you look back it, you say, ‘What did you get out of it?’ Well, okay, all of that happened at a time when nobody was talking about Oklahoma State football.
“Nobody was talking about college football, but our brand was out there all across the country.”
The mullet was born — or reborn, given that Gundy sported the look as an OSU quarterback in the 1980s — when one of the coach’s sons told his dad to get a haircut. It began as a way for Gundy to annoy his kids, then it took on a life of its own at last year’s Big 12 media days, even though the look had yet to reach full “Canadian Passport” proportions.
“A real mullet has to be at least shoulder length,” Gundy said at the time, and as it got there, plenty of folks took notice.
Gundy on coaches’ reaction to the mullet: “Bob (Stoops) liked it. Dana (Holgorsen) wanted me to perm it. Coach Snyder just…shakes his head."
— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 18, 2017
“Heck, it’s growing on me through the year, through the season,” former Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said in December (via ESPN). “Maybe wasn’t such a fan early on, but I’ve come to like it.”
“It’s ferocious,” Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield said at the time. “It’s very dirty. You’ve got to respect that he’s rocking it.”
“Coach Gundy rockin’ the mullet? Yeah, shows class — and brass!” Cyrus crowed.
In fact, things got to the point where Gundy was concerned that the mullet might become “a bigger deal than our team.” He trimmed it down last week, but also made it even more of a party in the back.
— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) July 11, 2017
Gundy said Tuesday that his hairdresser is “under a lot of pressure to make sure that it looks good.” Oh, it’s a thing of beauty, Coach.