Article by Kyle Fredrickson | The Oklahoman | Published: November 20, 2015
STILLWATER — Mike Gundy cracked jokes but wouldn’t crack a smile. He pursed lips as reporters’ laughter faded to awkward silence. His head tilted forward. Glossy eyes stared intently. White knuckles gripped the podium.
In a series of tense press conferences during Oklahoma State’s five-game skid last season, Gundy’s words were closely dissected. The weekly 30-minute window to publicly address questions surrounding his team had plenty wondering if something was wrong with the 10th-year head coach. Turns out, the concern was legitimate.
“I was uncomfortable every day and I thought, ‘OK, how can I solve this?’” Gundy said earlier this month. “I’m pretty healthy, but I’m going to make myself have a heart attack at 47.”
Oh, how things have changed since.
No. 6 OSU enters its 6:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff against No. 10 Baylor with 12-consecutive wins dating back to December. These days, Gundy stands behind the podium with the occasional grin. His shoulders are loose. His hands wave to illustrate points.
The coach who called this his “New York Yankees job” in 2005 appears back. Winning is the easy answer in dissecting that revival. But candid moments of conversation over the past few weeks have revealed external forces at work in Gundy’s rebound from the personal lows of last November.
With the help of Dr. R. Murali Krishna, president, chief operating officer and medical director of Integris Mental Health in Oklahoma City, Gundy says he’s reformed his mental approach in both football and life.
“Last year’s situation is what got me into the mental health and preparation that I believe in,” Gundy said. “Because I let all that wear me out and it was a waste of time. I wasted all that time and all that anger and all that whatever. And I couldn’t do a dang thing about it.”
Krishna — who authored the 2012 mental health guide, Vibrant: To Heal and Be Whole, with Kelly Dyer Fry, Editor of The Oklahoman — was happy to help.
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