Every now and then, a reporter's notebook will offer a rare look behind the scenes at the inner workings of a major college football program. Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman spoke to T. Boone Pickens, a famous billionaire hedge fund manager and Oklahoma State's biggest donor (by far), about Big 12 expansion in the wake of reports that the league might not choose to add schools to its 10-team membership.
For the record, Pickens prefers 10 teams in the league. But there's another interesting nugget from Pickens as it pertains to his relationship with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. In addition to dissing Oklahoma's athletic director -- "maybe it's time for David [Boren] to retire" -- Pickens told Bohls he doesn't have conversations with Gundy anymore.
"I don't know," Pickens said when asked if there was a "rift" with Gundy. "Mike doesn't handle people relationships very well. And he gets mad about things. I've heard he's written some notes about me that weren't very complimentary."
The status of their relationship has drawn headlines for years. In 2014, a late-season losing streak had reporters asking Gundy about his standing in the eyes of the well-known OSU benefactor, who was spotted leaving a game early and heard offering a rather lukewarm comment on the status of the coaching.
"I don't need anybody to tell me that they like me or dislike me," Gundy said at the time. "I don't really care. I just like to coach my guys and keep playing ball ... I don't know what to say. He's old enough to make his own comments now, right? I can't control what he says."
Gundy can be fine and successful at Oklahoma State without enjoying a cozy relationship with Pickens, but isn't that a little strange when he's not only one of the school's biggest donors but has his name on the football stadium? Gundy might choose to ignore the note-writing allegation during the week as the team prepares for Texas, but there's no way he'll miss the headlines from Pickens' comments.