In a shocking late-night development, Oklahoma’s longest-tenured assistant coach is stepping down.
Cale Gundy, who has served the program as both a record-setting quarterback, a tireless assistant and a recruiting specialist, announced on Twitter that “it is with great pain that I am announcing my resignation.”
Gundy’s decision comes after an incident he described 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 one player was distracted, picked up his iPad and read aloud the words that were written on his screen. The displayed word had nothing to do with football. One particular word that I should never—under any circumstances—pronounce was displayed on that screen. I didn’t even realize what I was reading at the time, and when I did, I was horrified.
“I want to be very clear: the words I read aloud from that screen were not my words. What I said was not malicious; it wasn’t even intentional.
“However, I am 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 confirming Gundy’s departure.
“It is with sadness that I accept the resignation of Coach Gundy,” Venables said. “He has dedicated more than half his life to Oklahoma football and has served our program and university well. We are grateful for this commitment. We also recognize that in stepping down, he put the program and the well-being of our student-athletes first. In coaching and in life, we are all responsible for our actions and the resulting results.
“The culture we build in our program is based on mutual respect. Our staff is here to develop successful student-athletes, but also young men of character. As leaders of this program, it is important that we hold ourselves to the highest standards as we model for our players the type of young men we want them to become.”
The OU football team reported to preseason training camp last Thursday and began practice on Friday. At media day last week, Gundy on Tuesday reiterated his spring assertion 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 it,” Gundy said. “I really believe that.”
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In Sunday’s statement, Gundy said the current team and its members “do not deserve to be distracted by things off the field as they work to continue the tradition of excellence that makes me proud to be a Sooner. I will not let the program I love let poor service distract me from this mission. Effective immediately, I am resigning.”
Gundy, who coaches OU’s wide receivers after excelling as the Sooners’ running backs coach, said “I leave these sidelines with a heavy heart.”
After Gundy’s older brother Mike went to Oklahoma State and became the Cowboys’ quarterback record holder, Cale graduated from Midwest City High School, where he was the No. 1 recruit in the state and a top-five national quarterback prospect, to OU, where played four years for Gary Gibbs.
Gundy started for 3 1/2 years and was the key figure in bringing OU’s offensive football out of the leverage era and into the new passing era. From 1990-93, Gundy set nearly every OU passing record, including career passing attempts (751), career completions (420), career yards (6,142), career touchdowns (35) and total offense in career (6,389). He also led OU’s career with 31 receptions, as well as 200- and 300-yard games, and owned most single-game and single-season points.
His teams’ record in Gundy’s games as a starting quarterback was 24-12-2.
Gundy, whose official title was co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach during his 23rd and final season in 2021, was a student assistant at OU in 1994 before coaching quarterbacks at UAB in 1995. and running backs from 1996-98.
In December 1998, Bob Stoops hired Gundy to coach running backs and lead his recruiting efforts at Oklahoma and Texas. He was director of recruiting at Stoops from 2004-16 and held that position for two years under Lincoln Riley.
In total, Gundy played or coached in 353 games as a Sooner, tied for the most in school history. Longtime assistant Merv Johnson worked a streak of 513 consecutive games as a coach and radio analyst.
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 Adrian Peterson’s recruitment from Palestine, Texas, remain at the top. Gundy and Stoops visited Peterson’s father in federal prison, and Gundy told the nation’s No. 1 prospect in 2004 that the Sooners would win with or without him, and Peterson soon committed to OU over Texas A&M and Texas .
Venables also said Gundy’s interim replacement will be assistant receivers coach and offensive analyst L’Damian Washington. Washington, 31, played collegiately at Missouri before numerous brief forays into the NFL and other professional leagues. Venables hired Washington in January to help Gundy with the Sooner wideouts.
Gundy, 50, just received a two-year contract extension and a $10,000 annual raise in March, bringing his salary to $610,000 a year through 2024.