The Oklahoma Sooners will start the regular season with a game against UTEP on Sept. 3 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. Photo by Toniklemm/Wikimedia Commons
Aug. 8 (UPI) — Cale Gundy, a longtime assistant football coach at Oklahoma, saw a “shameful” word on the screen of a player’s iPad, read it out loud at a team meeting and resigned from the program, he announced on social media.
Gundy announced his resignation late Sunday on Twitter. Neither Gundy, nor the school, elaborated on the specific word Gundy said in front of the players, but former Sooners star Joe Mixon was among those who defended his former coach on social media, saying Gundy is “not a racist.”
Gundy had served on Oklahoma’s staff since 1999 and was the longest-tenured football coach in the Big 12.
“I owe it to Sooner Nation to be transparent about what led to this decision: Last week, during a film session, I instructed my players to take notes,” Gundy wrote in his statement. “I noticed a player was distracted and picked up his iPad and read aloud the words that were written on his screen.
“The words displayed had nothing to do with football. One particular word that I should never — under any circumstance — have uttered was displayed on that screen. In the moment, I did not even realize what I was reading and, as soon as I did, I was horrified.”
Gundy said the word he said was “not malicious” or “even intentional.”
“Still, I am mature enough to know that the word I said was shameful and hurtful, no matter my intentions,” the 50-year-old coach wrote.
Gundy, the brother of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, joined the Sooners sideline in 1999. He served as a running backs coach and inside receivers coach before he became the team’s top assistant. He also played quarterback for the Sooners from 1990 to 1993.
Several former Oklahoma players, including Joe Mixon, posted supportive messages about Gundy on Sunday on social media. Mixon wrote that Gundy “is not a racist in any way nor has a racist bone in his body, mind, or soul.”
Oklahoma hired former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as head coach in December. Former Sooners coach Lincoln Riley announced in November that he would leave the school to take the same job at USC.
“It’s with sadness that I accept coach Gundy’s resignation,” Venables said Sunday night. “He’s dedicated more than half his life to Oklahoma Football and has served our program and university well.
“We’re thankful for that commitment. We also acknowledge that in stepping aside he’s placed the program and the welfare of our student-athletes first. In coaching and in life, we’re all accountable for our actions and the resulting outcomes.”
Offensive analyst L’Damian Washington will fill Gundy’s role on an interim basis.
The Sooners will start their regular-season campaign with a game against UTEP on Sept. 3 in Norman, Okla.