Oklahoma State Cowboy fans. I've been a life-long Oklahoma Sooners fan, having a grandfather who played for OU back in the early 30's. But for the past four seasons I've been a very big Oklahoma State Cowboy fan because of the Chelf family; Randy and Donna Chelf, their OSU football playing sons Clint and Colton Chelf, and their OSU basketball playing daughter Courtney.
Colton and Clint Chelf, brothers from Enid, Oklahoma, have been friends of two my sons since grade school. They've played sports together, both football and basketball, and have many shared memories. Colton Chelf graduated from Enid High School with my son Kade in 2007. Clint Chelf graduated from Enid High School with my son Boe in 2009. During Clint's senior season at Enid High School, he threw a few touchdown passes to Boe Burleson. We knew Clint was a special football player before any of the coaches at Oklahoma State University did.
As for my wife and me, we knew the Chelf boys' parents better than the boys. Randy and Donna Chelf invested their lives in their kids and spent a great deal of time helping us with our kids. Randy coached my son Kade in basketball from the 3rd grade through the 8th grade. He coached my son Boe in football during the 5th and 6th grades. I can't count the number of occasions that Randy and Donna cared for our boys--transportation, meals, general watch care--when Rachelle or I could not make weekend athletic tournaments. The Chelfs are good people, northwestern Oklahoma salt-of-the-earth kind of people. Randy and Donna trained their boys, as well as their star basketball playing daughter Courtney, to give it their best at all times on the athletic field. Don't complain. Don't quit. Persevere during trials. Focus on doing everything you do with excellence. What they taught their kids bled over to my kids.
Clint Chelf listened to his dad and mom. You would be hard-pressed to find a more humble football player in the NCAA today. Last week Clint won National Player of the Week for his performance against Baylor. Not Big 12 player of the week, NATIONAL player of the week. Boe and I were at the game courtesy of some friends who gave us their season tickets because they had to be out of the country. I told Randy Chelf that I've never seen more accurate passing at any level, college or professional, than Clint's passing last Saturday night. It was a great night for Cowboy fans.
Clint Chelf played outstanding last year as well, particularly when one realizes the coaches relegated him to the third team and it was only after injuries to the two players in front of him that allowed Clint to play at all. Once a starter in 2012, Clint almost single-handedly beat Oklahoma. After Clint graduated from OSU in May of 2013, he could have transferred to any NCAA school without penalty. Clint had one more year of football eligibility. However, the OSU coaches made sure to tell Clint and the public that he was OSU's #1 quarterback going into this season. Clint chose to stay. Strangley, just TWO SERIES into the opening game of the 2013 season, Coach Gundy pulled Clint Chelf. It looked to this observer like that was a planned move. Though others were pretty upset, I just figure coaches have their reasons for player personnel decisions.
I lost some respect for Coach Mike Gundy for another reason.
Coach Gundy has silenced Clint Chelf. He's muzzled him. He has prohibited Clint from speaking to the media since he became the starter. Clint Chelf is one of the most articulate young men you will ever meet. Clint Chelf is also one of the most loyal young men you'll ever want on your team. Clint has fought through more adversity at Oklahoma State University than any other football player on the team. He has given 100% and never complained, even when others couldn't understand why he was not playing. He's given Coach Gundy absolutely no reason to muzzle him. In fact, I would say there are at least four reasons why Coach Gundy should want Clint Chelf to speak to the media.
(1). Coach Gundy won't find someone more team oriented than Clint.
(2). Coach Gundy won't find someone more humble than Clint.
(3). Coach Gundy won't find someone more articulate than Clint.
(4). Coach Gundy won't find someone more suited to represented the ideals of OSU to the public than Clint.
Clint Chelf is a 22-year old graduate of Oklahoma State University, currently enrolled in a Masters program at OSU. I usually write about theology, history or current events, but I felt compelled to write this blog post because of something I read today - Berry Tramel's article in the Daily Oklahoman entitled Coach Mike Gundy Cost's Clint Chelf a Memorable Moment." I was shocked after reading how Coach Gundy took Clint Chelf's place on the set of Gameday, particularly since the crew asked for Clint Chelf.
But it wasn't just the article that compelled me to write this post; it was also the comments by readers of the article. The majority of Oklahoma State University fans were taking Berry Tramel to task for what he wrote!
Sorry, OSU fans. Berry Tramel is spot on.
Coach Mike Gundy is missing out on the proper way to handle his 22-year-old quarterback and the leader of his team. The coach is also missing out on gaining new fans across the state, and if he's not careful, he will find out that his tight control and muzzling of his star quarterback will have ramifications on future recruits. One can understand the discipline of a player who breaks the rules. One can't comprehend the reasons for muzzling a player who has been a role model for Oklahoma State University.
I speak for myself and nobody else. But if the coaches were smart, they would realize that I may know a thing or two about people in general and one family in specific.
I heard through some friends in Tulsa that Coach Gundy is upset with a couple of Tulsa sports writers for a few things they wrote when the staff made the decision to change quarterbacks. It seems he barred Clint and J.W. from speaking to the media as punishment for what was written, articles that had absolutely nothing to do with Clint's or J.W.'s behavior or words.
Come on, Coach Gundy! Don't take out your anger against sports writers on your players. It's time to remove the muzzle on the leader of your team.
Let Clint Chelf speak.