Monday, November 25, 2013

Coach Gundy, There Is No Good Reason for You to Muzzle Clint Chelf

I'm in the people business. I make my living by communicating with others. For over two decades I've been a pastor in Enid, Oklahoma. Most of the church members where I work are 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.


goobergal said...

Wasn't Clink a walk-on? If I am correct he played because he loved the game and the program. I hope that Coach Gundy shows his appreciation for Clint by letting him have his time in the spot-light.

Wade Burleson said...

Clint received a scholarship. His brother, Colton, transferred from Junior College and walked on (then received a scholarship later).

Anonymous said...

I love Clint Chelf and how he handles himself. However, I disagree with your perspective and credibility as it pertains to the Oklahoma State Football program.

I'm in the Oklahoma State student and fan business. I make my living by communicating, working with, and selling to Oklahoma State Students and constituents. The 5 years that I was involved in the Athletic Sales and Marketing department at OSU were record-breaking. For over three decades I've been an Oklahoma State Cowboy fan. For over a decade, I’ve been an Oklahoma State alumni.

I know and have worked with the current OSU football staff, coaches, and players. Several great men of character – some less. However, almost 100% of them are successful and in the position that they work in because they are committed to the players and their on and off-the-field success. No matter what Thayer and SI may have you believe. ;)

In my time working in the Athletic Department and in my dealings with Coach Gundy, I never found him to operate or to do anything without purpose or reasoning. A program does not make the strides like that of Oklahoma State in the last decade by shucking forethought. His decisions and their reasoning can, and by the right people, should be questioned. They have in the past – and they will again. However, they are decisions that are his to make. The opinions of onlookers (no matter how casual), and even players families don’t decide the fate and direction of the program. For almost a decade, Mike Gundy’s have. His track-record has proven him to be a pretty good steward with those decisions.

There are some presuppositions and liberties take in the four statements about Clint because, this team especially, is FULL of humble, articulate and team oriented players. I say this with confidence because of my time spent with the individuals.
I know and understand how passionate knowing members of a team can make someone. However, knowing the family of 1 player and doesn’t qualify statements that inherently discredit the other 84 scholarship athletes (or walk-ons) on the team – or the coaches that know, interact, and deal with them on a daily basis.

I find it somewhat silly that someone might find validity in an OU fan discrediting the OSU coaches intelligence and capacity to run the program. The coaches are smart and they know a thing or two about running a championship football team. They have made more “controversial” calls than this and their recruiting has been increasingly successful. Why? Because they win. They win because they make decisions that they believe, and have proven to be, in the best interest of their program.

Sorry, OU fans, but Berry and Wade are off-base.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Adam, for the comment! :) Well stated. We disagree, but I respect your opinion.

Free Clint! :)

Anonymous said...

No problem, Wade. Different perspectives produce different opinions. Which is, in part, why longtime OSU fans don't have a big problem with this. The comprehensive OSU perspective allows a little latitude because Gundy's controversial decisions don't end up being that controversial in the end.

Gundy allowed a scholarship to Clint when hardly anyone else did (also to his brother), grew him, and made decisions that show Clint to be a better player than when he arrived. He also gave them some pretty unique experiences in the winning a Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl Championship. Nobody has criticized those decisions.

I wonder how Stoops would respond to this situation, because the last time Berry Tramel disagreed with Gundy, Bob backed Mike. See the Wes Lunt transfer restrictions.

Wade Burleson said...

Good question, Adam.

Bottom line for me is I hate to see someone like Clint miss out on some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (for his kids and grandkid's too) by not being allowed to be on Gameday.

Again, thanks for your comments.

tiffany said...

My guess is Gundy wants to keep it about the current game and then immediately move on to next weeks game without distractions. Also, the most articulate people (and i agree Clint is articulate and makes Enid proud - I've seen him at the FCA dinner) can say one thing that can be taken out of context. After all journalist are in it for the story and who can break it first (even if there isn't a story). There is a reason even innocent people need attorney's. It doesn't take saying the wrong thing purposefully to get yourself in trouble. And my guess is Gundy just wants to protect his kids from that. I truly believe, whether you agree with the reasoning, that he truly just wants to protect all of them.

Anonymous said...

No problem. Thank you for the opportunity to refute. No need to feel bad for Clint. His work on the field was seen by everyone in the nation. His family, kids, and grand kids will hopefully choose to remember positive perspective, like the rest of Cowboy Nation. Not one of the OKC media.

The real story that will be remembered is the one where he took the once in a lifetime opportunity by the horns and led the team heroically against the #4 team in the nation. Not the one where he didn't do an interview.

Besides, Clint would be among the first to admit that the Baylor game means little if if they don't go out and beat OU.

Unknown said...

I agree Wade. This is interesting that I came upon this discussion. I am a Sooners graduate of 2009 and to no surprise a Sooner fan! However, I was right there Saturday night supporting OSU and of course Clint. We both are Enid grown and grads of Enid High. In fact my uncle Keith Lea helped coach this young man. I don't know much about football or the OSU program but I do know the other night when I listened to Mike Gundy talk about the game and Clint I was just blown away how he did not credit this young man like he should have. I remember Coach Gundy saying something to the fact that yeah he did a great job, but yeah he had 3 or 4 not so on spot throws too but what quarterback doesn't. I said before I do not know much about anything with what is going on here...but I do know that kid deserved so much better praise than that. I am sure Clint has lived to please that man for the last 5 years! I am sure that is what all of his college life has been about and that is it from Coach Gundy!! I am sure if I was left feeling empty I could not even imagine what it made him feel like...but what do I know...I do know one thing though, my husband (a man) like coach Gundy (just to specify) has a real hard time admitting and accepting if he is wrong about something and maybe just maybe Clint should not have been on the 3rd string after all...maybe he needed to lead this team from the beginning. ..and if I can see that. ..surely Gundy can/or could of. But maybe he just can't bring himself to admit that he was wrong in some of his coaching decisions...

Brad Thurman said...

I agree with your comments on Clint. He is a first class person and has held himself well through all of his tribulations. I'm glad he has been given the chance to lead this team and wish him all the best. It's been a privilege to watch him play and grow.

I do take issue, however, about your characterization of Coach Gundy. There isn't a coach that will go to bat for his players like Coach (see: Bobby Reid). I think you make a gross generalization but assuming that Coach's actions are "muzzling" or insidious, as you imply. They are the actions of a coach doing what he can to protect his players, his team and his program.

It's easy to judge at arms length. It's easy to pontificate from the bully pulpit that the digital world allows. It's much harder to work under the constraints of a university, the NCAA and others. Clint has been given a fantastic opportunity to have a scholarship, lead a team and be widely respected in the way that few are. To diminish these accomplishments by complaining that he hasn't been allowed access to the media is unfortunate and incredulous.

We're all entitled to our opinions. You are entitled to yours and I'd never say otherwise. My opinion is that you use your efforts to support Clint and not to question someone in whose shoes you haven't walked.

Anonymous said...

These players are students who should be focused on school & the game…not on interviews with the media. I don't think Coach Gundy is attempting to "muzzle" anyone. If anything, I think it's more probable that he protects his players by having them focus on what MATTERS.

Anonymous said...

Some big time OSU ALUMNI have expressed their opinions all over the radio stations , how upset they are with coach Grundy for this! All you gotta do is listen! Some played there! I would've liked to see Clint enjoy getting to be on GAMEDAY! A once in a lifetime event! There are exceptions to every rule! If someone doesn't represent the university like they want, get rid of them! Don't punish the rest and then take center stage! Doesn't look good ! I'm an outsider lookin in and this is what I'm seein and hearin! And I promise you , it's a majority! All it hurt was just Clint , no big deal, he just saved the season for the pokes!

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 18:17 ESV The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Just a fan said...

So I guess saying he's quitting the team cause he didn't get the starting job a year ago is giving 100% all the time??? Also I don't think it helps when your brother, who played on the same team as you calls the head coach a "chickenshit" for pulling you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Coach Gundy isn't trying to muzzle Chelf, but protect him from the media.

Anonymous said...


First, longime OSU fans don't put stock into Sports Radio. We mostly listen to it for fun. Radio and t-shirt fans rarely have a sense of history or understanding of administrative goals. Neither do former players. I am close to several, go to church with several, have employed some, and consider one to be one of my best friends.

I don't know who you're qualifying as "big-time alumni", but I can say with confidence, I have had face-to-face conversations with bigger who support the coach and administration on this. That this isn't considering my friends, family, and peer circles that I don't really have to leave to attain a qualified sampling and to feel confident in my statements.

By the way. Big time donors don't call into radio stations.

Anonymous said...

I believe a pastor needs to stick to preaching and leave the coaching to Gundy. He certainly does not tell you what to preach on. You have no facts to base your opinion.

SeasonTicketholder said...

Let's not get all sanctimonious here about Clint Chelf not getting to do tv interviews. When his brother tweeted that remark after he got pulled during the MSU game, I don't recall you coming out and condemning him. When it looked like Chelf was going to quit last year, I don't recall you condemning that moment either, yet you think it's okay for the media to fire away questions at Clint about the prior circumstances and the potential comments that reflect on JW Walsh getting benched all for the sake of one player. Did you forget this is a team sport. No one player is bigger than the team. You think some jackwad like Trammel is going to hold back on questions that are designed to question Walsh's play or Gundy's decisions on who to play? What sandbox did you stick your head in?

Dr. J said...

The Game Day staff asked for "both" Coach Gundy and Clint; no one was taking anyone's place. Coach Gundy understands the stress placed on the quarterback position better than most, certainly more than you and all of us who have made comments here. Since the rule about qb's not talking to media was "already in place," why would he change the rule for one media outlet and keep it in place for all the others? That would have just given the opportunity for all the "opinion piece" writers like you to slam him for that instead. Why do people seem to think their opinions are fact? If you've really been around Oklahoma as long as it seems, and know the history of how quarterbacks are treated in the OK press (i.e. Bobby Reid trashing by Jenni Carlson, et. al.; Berry Trammel slamming Gundy's choice of Clint and calling for move back to J. W. two weeks ago, etc.), you would recognize Coach Gundy's "real" regard for his players.

Anonymous said...

It's evident, due to no explanation, the whole QB silencing , is damage control! Clint was never meant to be the OSU QB! Oops! It fell in his hands and he ran with it!(no pun intended) Lunt left, ouch! And after pulling Chelf before he could get the jitters out in the first game, we again have a new QB! After an EMBARRASSING loss to the lowly West Virginia, Chelf was reinstated to the job, never meant to be his! If Lunt would've stayed, I dare to say, he would've got yet another shot over Clint! But Lunt was gone so no choice but to put Chelf back in! You can hear it in Gundy's comments after the game hardly praising Chelf at all, unless forced into the question! So in order not to lose Walsh and future QB recruits, he buttons the lips of both QB's ,to harness the situation! Damage control, caused by the indesiciveness of the coaching staff! Just my opinion, but it's the only thing on this page that makes sense so far, just saying! Wouldn't be nice to hear a coach just once say, at the time this looked the best for the team! Everyone makes mistakes, but politicking with these youngsters and with the media these days, well this is what you get! And I hope Clint plays lights out his last 2 games!

Wade Burleson said...


You wrote: "I believe a pastor needs to stick to preaching and leave the coaching to Gundy. He certainly does not tell you what to preach on. You have no facts to base your opinion."

Your point would be valid if I was telling Coach Gundy how to coach. I am advising Gundy on how to handle a 22-year-old graduate of OSU off the field. I think it unwise to forbid him from speaking to the media.

It's only my opinion, and not yours. Simply a disagreement.

Wade Burleson said...

Dr. J,

You wrote: "The Game Day staff asked for "both" Coach Gundy and Clint; no one was taking anyone's place. Coach Gundy understands the stress placed on the quarterback position better than most, certainly more than you and all of us who have made comments here. Since the rule about qb's not talking to media was "already in place," why would he change the rule for one media outlet and keep it in place for all the others?"

Excellent point. I believe Coach Gundy is able to make snap decisions and think quickly on his feet.

After a such a superb game by his quarterback, with the invitation for Clint to accompany him on the Gameday set, I believe it would have made perfect sense to lift the ban on Clint from speaking.

Wade Burleson said...

Season Ticketholder,

You wrote: "Did you forget this is a team sport. No one player is bigger than the team!"

Point well taken.

Why is the entire team not forbidden from speaking to the media?

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I think there is valid points on both sides..however if Gundy made the decision to not let him interview and he just went out had the best game of his career against the #4 team in the nation...I say good decision..what if he did go on gameday then tanked...would gundy be wrong for letting him...just some thoughts. Tough decisions coaches have to make...for the team.. not just individuals... I am so glad for clint.. but that defense is sick!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I miss understood..if this is post game....then I think Gundy messed up.clint should have got to ..pregame I am ok with him not.

Wade Burleson said...

It was Postgame.

AFTER the game. AFTER the game of his life.

Coach Gundy refused Clint the ability to speak to the media - including being the guest on Gameday

Adam Weatherford said...

Adam Barnes
Does Jim Traber have a sense of history or understanding of administration? He went to Oklahoma State and he is a radio guy. Is he wrong when he says that Gundy should let Chelf speak to the Media? Just curious on your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like you're writing as a person who only knows one side of the story. Give it a rest--you aren't the coach and don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Gundy has proven himself for years and doesn't need the approval of a Baptist preacher to do what he does. Learn to trust the coach and quit whining.

Anonymous said...

If you want Clint to get credit for the game he played then focus on Clint and his accomplishments. Use your platform to enhance the positive side of his performance. If the lack of attention given to Clint is your real problem, then why fan the negative flame and make it about Gundy and/or your "advice" to him?

Your post accomplishes the very thing of which you accuse Gundy. Taking the focus off of Clint's performance and making it about something else.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see why Mike Gundy needs advisement. His 9 years have proven to be very effective on his own, without an OU super-fanboys advice. ;) Haha. All in love, Wade.

You just have to understand what it looks like to most in Orange and Black when a group of OU t-shirt fans believes that they have a pulse on what's going on in Stillwater or that they know what's best for the OSU football program. I mean you did say, "...if the coaches were smart" Haha. No matter whose parents are members of Emmanuel (just assuming the Chelfs are in the fold).

Hey, Boof. I was wondering when you'd show up! Glad to see that you didn't go anonymous. However, I'm not even going to legitimize an attempt of logic involving Traber with a response. Let's get together in person and we can go a few rounds on that guy. I want to respect your request to me from last year when you asked me to "just let (you) root for ("your") team". :). Love you, dude.

Wade Burleson said...


I agree, all in love! :)

Appreciate your articulate comments!

FREE CLINT! (A new campaign similar to FREE WILLIE back in the 90's). Laughing.

Anonymous said...

I do believe Coach Gundy IS protecting Clint from the media. Tiffany said it best in her post. They DO try and get into their heads. Remember the tirade Gundy threw last year when he flew off the handle at the media for tearing into one of his players and told them to talk to the Coach about decisions made and not the "kids". He is a man!!
I think that reflects his reasons in that it CAN mess up that grey matter between the ears and gets them thinking about what they are saying about the players. Best to protect them from some big headed sports writer. Example is Jason Whitlock who used to write for the Kansas City Star. He wrote and still writes junk and it is all about all he knows about football and how much the coaches do NOT know. That kind of rant. They are out there and are offended they cannot get to talk to Clint. Too bad for them and very likely better for Clint. Go Clint, beat the Sooners!!!

Wade Burleson said...

Good thoughts Anonymous.

Disagree with you, but good thoughts. If its best for the team to not speak to sportswriters, then enforce it for the team.

Don't single out players.

Anonymous said...

Adam has OSU ever won a National Championship in Football?

Anonymous said...

Haha! Never fails. Anonymous, irrelevant to the discussion, and everything. Classic. #FreeAnonymous

Mark Winter said...


Your comments are right on. Our family has been discussing this very topic for weeks. If Gundy is trying to protect the players from the media, why not protect them all? It is obvious that there is more going on than the coach simply protecting players.

It makes Gundy look small when he can't muster a few sincere compliments for a player like Chelf. We listen closely to Gundy's post game comments each week. He has never given Chelf a heart felt compliment. It is time for Gundy to be the man he claims to be , set his ego aside, and let Clint Chelf have his moment in the sun.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is going to be in Stillwater for Bedlam and looking for a place to tailgate or lounge before and/or during the game look up the "Loyal & True Lounge" in the Student Union. It's amazing. Besides being warm, we will have a Breakfast Buffet, tailgating snacks, HD mega-screens galore showing ESPN Gameday and the FS1 Roadshow (since it's an 11:00am kick). We will open at 8:00 and stay open throughout the game. Kid friendly. If you're interested, email me at

Wade Burleson said...


Very well articulated points. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You said they knew how to coach a National Championship Team, they have never experienced that in their football program. So your statement is incorrect. Just stating a fact,

Anonymous said...

I don't think for a moment there is any conspiracy on the part OU supporters to make the Cowboys take their eye off the ball. The Sooners play their game in a sporting way like gentlemen should. Winning, after all, is not a matter of life or death, now is it ? No, never. Well, hardly ever , perhaps with one or two that's not bad, is it ?

Anonymous said...

I am thinking that if Clint is as "humble" and "team oriented" as you say he is, this entire conversation is moot.

PetErErdoes said...

Wade you and Mark Winter can go have a group hug on criticizing Mike Gundy because he's more concerned about what's best for the team than what's best for one player. As far as I'm concerned, an ou fan like Wade says he is, bagging on Gundy for not letting Chelf go on Gameday is about as stirring to me as if I had a blog, used my position in a church and the proceeded to chastise Stoops for kicking a weed smoker off the team when he could have 'forgiven' him and let him play one more game and finish his career and move on to the NFL, but hey Wade and Mr. Winter, go ahead and feel free to question what's right for OSU as they may very well be on the verge of their all-time greatest record ever, while Gundy tries to keep distractions to a minimum.

Wade Burleson said...


I think you will find that part of the beauty of the Internet is the ability to question people, including coaches like Stoops, and realize that if one's actions are air-tight in terms of logic, benefit, and consistency, then there is nothing to fear from people like me questioning them.

The day we have no freedom to ask questions and express disagreement is the day we cease being a free society.

Thanks for the comment.

PeterE said...

But see that's where you are so full of yourself and so far off base it's laughable. Do you really think that by prefacing your remarks by saying you've been a pastor for 20 years in Enid that somehow that gives your opinion on OSU football and Mike Gundy's decision to not Chelf go on Gameday any validity? Funny but you fail to mention that Gundy hasn't let Chelf OR Walsh go in front of the media, but that part doesn't fir your agenda. Your opinion is about as relevant as Gundy posting on his website how after being in coaching for over 20 years, something you are doing in your lofty position as a preacher in a Church is questionable. It's not. So stop being so full of yourself.

Wade Burleson said...

Happy Thanksgiving Peter

cb scott said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Wade . . . and ROLL TIDE!!