Ten years ago tomorrow I began a tradition that was important to me. At the start of every Oklahoma State football season, I would meet with the media and share my thoughts and expectations for the program. To me, the little gaggle with the press was very personal. It was something I looked forward to every year. It was a chance for me to opine about my deep love for Oklahoma State and display my inherent competitive spirit. Oh, I do like to win.
Tonight, as Oklahoma State takes on Tulsa, I’m deeply sorry to report the gaggle won’t happen. While I am making progress, my recovery from a Texas-size fall earlier this summer is taking longer than I had hoped. I continue to work with my speech coach. She’s wonderful and I’m optimistic that my speech will fully return, but I don’t want to frustrate myself…or you…with a spirited round of one-sided back-and-forth.
But I am not going to cheat myself out of an opportunity to profess my love for OSU and my excitement for the upcoming season. So, I’ve prepared some thoughts and hope you will feel free to share them.
When I began my major giving at Oklahoma State, I had short- and long-term goals. Short term, I wanted to be competitive. We didn’t have to win every game, but we had to leave it all on the field. To me, attitude and effort are everything. As I said before, show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser. We have moved to a new plateau. We’re more than competitive. We’re winners. I’m proud of my contributions. There is always more work ahead to sustain success. Longer term, I want every aspect of our programs to compete for national championships. With Mike Holder’s leadership, his solid staff and the roster of strong coaches across the board, we are getting there.
I have such a great feeling about our football team this year and our chances to win a national championship. Mike Gundy is building a great program. And it is a program that achieves a key goal of mine – play by the rules. You don’t have to cheat to win. I’ve gotten to know Mason Rudolph. He’s a great team leader and I know he will have a Heisman season. I wish the very best to Coach Gundy and the team who share my dream of hoisting yet another Big 12 Championship Trophy and salivate at the prospects of hoisting the College Football Championship Trophy.
My health is improving, but, in reality, it is going to be tough for me to do what I’ve done for more than a decade…and that’s make every home game.
But know this: When I’m absent physically, I’m still leaving all my heart on the field.