Venables: '[Cale] Gundy resigned ... because he knows what he did was wrong'

·4 min read

Aug. 8—Oklahoma assistant coach Cale Gundy's abrupt resignation late Sunday night sent shockwaves across the program.

The 23-year assistant, who was set to serve as the team's wide receivers coach this season, announced he was leaving the program via social media, effective immediately.

Gundy served in a variety of roles since he was hired by former OU coach Bob Stoops in 1999.

In Gundy's initial statement, he pointed to an incident during a team film session last week as the cause for his resignation.

After noticing a player was distracted, Gundy took the iPad and read out loud what was on the screen, which included a "particular word" that he shouldn't have said.

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables, who released a statement Sunday shortly after Gundy announced his resignation, made another statement Monday further detailing the incident. Venables referred to the incident as "not acceptable."

"Coach Gundy resigned from the program because he knows what he did was wrong," Venables' latest statement read. "He chose to read aloud to his players, not once but multiple times, a racially charged word that is objectionable to everyone, and does not reflect the attitude and values of our university or our football program. This is not acceptable. Period.

"Coach Gundy did the right thing in resigning. He knows our goals for excellence and that coaches have special responsibilities to set an example. He also knows that, while he will always be a part of the OU family, that his words affected many of us and did not represent the principles of our university. Again, his resignation was the right thing to do, and we will move forward positively."

The team held their regularly-scheduled fall camp practice Monday, which was open to members of the media, but players and coaches were not made available after. Gundy was not present at the practice.

L'Damian Washington, an offensive analyst for the Sooners, will serve as interim wide receivers coach, Venables announced. Washington led the receivers through drills during Monday's practice.

Since Gundy's resignation, former and current players have taken to Twitter to voice their support for the former OU assistant.

Joe Mixon, former OU player and current Cincinnati Bengals' running back, was one of the first to release a statement via Twitter.

"Cale Gundy is everything OU and any institution would want in a coach, teacher and mentor," Mixon's statement read. "He is caring, thoughtful, intelligent, smart, funny, experienced, philanthropic, humble and selfless.

"If not for Coach Gundy I would not have attended OU survived at OU, stayed at OU and succeeded in life after OU. I owe my education and professional career to him and most importantly I owe who I am as a person to him."

Former OU receiver Dede Westbrook, who attended the Sooners' practice Monday, also released a statement.

"I don't care what anyone has to say, Coach Gundy will always have my respect as a man and a coach," Westbrook said in a statement. "From the very first day he got in contact with me when I played JuCo, he went out of his way to show me he believed in me."

Adrian Peterson, former OU running back and NFL Most Valuable Player in 2013, expressed his support for Gundy in a statement via Twitter.

"I want you to know that I support as you go through [what] I can only imagine as being one of the toughest situations you've had to deal with in your life," Peterson's statement read. "I know you... not only as Coach Gundy, but also the man, husband and father. I'll always have nothing but love and respect for you."

Former OU coach Bob Stoops, who served as head coach from 1999-2016, thanked Gundy for his years on staff.

"I've worked alongside Cale for 23 years and know him to be a man of character and a person that loves and cares for his players as well as OU," Stoops said in a tweet. "Thank you Cale for all the hard work you poured into our program, it will be remembered!"

Current OU running backs coach DeMarco Murray, who played at OU from 2006-2009, also released a statement.

"I came here in 2006 for the tradition and the love of this program," Murray said. "Also the love for Coach Gundy, he's provided so much knowledge to me over the years and I will always support and love him as well as his entire family.

"What transpired was unacceptable during position meetings. We must use this time to educate and unify."

In addition to coaching, Gundy was the Sooners' quarterback from 1990-1993 before joining the staff as a graduate assistant in 1994.

He briefly left to coach at UAB before returning to Oklahoma's coaching staff in 1999. He was the longest tenured coach in the Big 12 before his resignation.

Gundy was set to make $610,000 per year through Jan. 31, 2024 after the OU Board of Regents approved the deal earlier this year.

The Sooners open the 2022 season at home against UTEP at 2:30 p.m. Sept 3.

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580