After four eventful seasons as a Sooner quarterback, Gundy Began shocked the coaching community by resigning Sunday night.
During the Cale Gundy era at Oklahoma, 32 years passed, 27 college football seasons, 353 games were played, and countless blue-chip recruits were brought into the program.
It all began with one of the most celebrated homegrown recruits in the history of the Sooners: Gundy himself.
Gully — the OU receivers coach who resigned unexpectedly late Sunday night after an apparently racially charged incident during a team meeting last week — was the most coveted high school player in the state of Oklahoma when he signed with the Sooners in 1990 out of Midwest City High School, and was a top-five national quarterback recruit as a result.
The Career of Cale Gundy Began 32 Years Ago At Oklahoma With a Bang…and the ‘Cale Mary’
As a two-sport star who also played baseball for Oklahoma, Gundy’s coming-out party in Norman, Oklahoma unfolded in dramatic fashion midway through his true freshman season.
With the program reeling from NCAA probation in the wake of Barry Switzer’s resignation following the 1988 season, Gundy might have been tempted to follow his big brother Mike to Oklahoma State during this time.
It should be noted that Mike, who set a number of records as a Cowboy, had previously (and strongly) considered becoming a Sooner.
After a quick drive down Sooner Road, Cale was thrilled to accept Gary Gibbs’ scholarship offer and gladly donned the Crimson and Cream.
Gundy, who is six feet tall and weighs 193 pounds, probably wasn’t quite ready for college football when he started his career, but it didn’t take him long to adjust.
A few months ago, Gundy served as Steve Collins’ backup in easy non-conference victories against UCLA, Pitt, and Tulsa (he completed 7-of-18 passes for 66 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions).
However, in his first non-conference game against Kansas, Gundy sat on the bench because he was healthy and did not play.
In the following week, when his big brother Mike Gundy watched from the sidelines as an OSU coach, the legend of Cale Gundy was born.
As halftime approached, Gundy was brought off the bench to run a two-minute offense for the Sooners with the Cowboys leading 14-7 at the time.
In the final seconds of the game, Gundy threw a bomb to tight end Adrian Cooper, who made a leaping catch and powered over the goal line as the clock ticked down.
Do you think Sooner Magic will be a success? It is a “Cale Mary,” not a “Caleb Mary.”
It was Gundy’s first career touchdown in a 31-17 Bedlam blowout as he went 6-for-10 for 119 yards and scored his first touchdown in the NFL.
Gundy backed up Collins again against Texas the following week. When Gundy came off the bench against the Longhorns in the second quarter, he never relinquished it.
In the final minutes of the Red River Rivalry, Gundy completed just three of six passes for 51 yards, but he engineered a 51-yard drive that set up the game-winning field goal attempt that would win the game.
Despite the fact that R.D. Lashar’s 46-yard field goal went wide left, Texas was able to hold on for a 14-13 win.
The Sooners then faced Iowa State in their next game, in which Gundy got his first career start, but this time he did not have the same luck.
Gundy threw for 119 yards on ten of thirteen attempts, but the Sooners suffered their first loss to the Cyclones since 1960, falling 33-31 in a bizarre game in Norman.
As a result of Gundy’s eight-of-14 passing of 169 yards, one passing touchdown, and one rushing touchdown, he had a 14-12 lead over Colorado – the eventual national champions of 1990 – when he had to leave the game due to injury. It was a 32-23 win for the Buffs.
With Gundy in the lineup, the Sooners won their last three games (55-10 at Missouri, 34-7 against Kansas State, 45-10 in a historic upset victory over Nebraska) and he was solid in all three games: 20-of-42, 387 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
While Gundy’s overall numbers in 1990 were modest – 54-of-109, 904 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions – he was the quarterback in charge of finally moving OU away from the wishbone era in order to embrace a more modern offensive approach.
With Gibbs’ offensive two-deep largely built for running the option, and with NCAA probation stripping the roster of vital depth, Gibbs had a mountain to climb in rebuilding the roster.
OU finished 7-4 the year before Gundy arrived at OU, then went 8-3, 9-3, 5-4-2 and 9-3 during his four years at OU.
As a starter, Gundy had a record of 24-12-2, and he outpaced every quarterback at OU who came before him in terms of single-game passing, single-season passing, and career passing in terms of touchdown passes.
In the end, Gundy finished his career with 6,142 passing yards – a record that stood firm atop the university’s record books until he returned to the university in 1999 as Bob Stoops’ running backs coach and helped Josh Heupel wipe out all of Gundy’s old records.
Gundy graduated from OU with three of the most prolific passing seasons in the history of the university.
Currently, his sophomore, junior and senior year stats rank 20th, 22nd, and 26th in school history, well ahead of the likes of Sam Bradford, Landry Jones, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Jason White, Spencer Rattler, Paul Thompson, Nate Hybl and, of course, Heupel himself.
In spite of this, Gundy will always be the first quarterback in the Sooner record books no matter how many “passing” quarterbacks redecorate the record books.