Kasey Dunn settling in as Oklahoma State's OC

Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn runs drills with the receivers during OSU's first day of spring practice in Stillwater last week. (Jason Elmquist / CNHI) 

STILLWATER — It was a whirlwind of an offseason for Kasey Dunn.

The longest tenured coach on Mike Gundy’s staff at Oklahoma State was all but out the door, agreeing to his first offensive coordinator position for former colleague Marcus Arroyo at UNLV.

“(The family) had kind of made up their mind that they were going. They'd kind of started to turn the page, you know, and mom was looking for places to live in Vegas,” Dunn said last week in his first media availability since the Texas Bowl. “… We had kind of just started to make that transition.”

But what a difference a month can make.

Dunn was allowed to coach the Cowboy receivers in the bowl game, while Arroyo was finishing up his offensive coordinator duties for the Oregon Ducks.

And before any contract was signed, or any staff announcements were made by Arroyo and UNLV, Oklahoma State was suddenly in a position where it too needed an offensive coordinator.

Sean Gleeson had left for Rutgers to become the offensive coordinator for newly hired head coach Greg Schiano and a Scarlet Knights program that won just two games last year.

With that departure, Dunn – who many Oklahoma State fans thought should have had a chance to be the OC after longtime coordinator Mike Yurcich left for Ohio State after the 2018 season – was finally given that opportunity at Oklahoma State.

Less than 30 days after Dunn had confirmed he was taking the coordinator job at UNLV, he was announced as Oklahoma State’s third offensive coordinator in as many years.

After accepting the promotion to become an OC in the Big 12 Conference, he had the task of calling the former Oklahoma State running backs coach and telling him that he would no longer be joining him in Las Vegas.

“How it unfolded with Marcus, it’s never good on something like that. We’re really good friends,” Dunn said. “I wanted to go out there, and help him get his thing started. He’s a first-time head football coach at a job that has been really, really hard to win, and I wanted to go out there with him and take on that challenge and be there for him. … It was hard to call him and say, ‘I’m sorry, I'm staying.’ But we just had to do the best thing for us.”

It was also difficult for Dunn’s family, who had already started thinking about the new chapter in life.

While his daughters were still going to be in Stillwater as students at Oklahoma State even had Dunn left for UNLV, his wife had already started saying her goodbyes for those friendships they had grown since arriving at OSU in 2011.

“The biggest problem for my wife, the biggest hurdle for her, was telling her friends that, ‘Well, I'm just kidding.’ Just for her, that was a hard part. It really was,” Dunn said. “But once you got by that, it was good.”

Dunn is still the receivers coach, on top of now being the offensive play-caller at Oklahoma State. It’s the first time in over 10 years in which Gundy elected to have his offensive coordinator not also be the quarterback coach.

And because of that, Dunn said he is making it a point to spend more time in the quarterback room for position meetings.

“I want to be in the quarterback room, and just kind of be around it a little bit, just kind of listening and see how things are presented,” Dunn said. “Tim (Rattay, new quarterback coach) is awesome, but I just want to hear it. I want to hear from their angle, and to make sure I'm speaking the same language that Tim is.”

Oklahoma State’s returning starting quarterback Spencer Sanders sees this as a positive.

He and Dunn have built a rapport going back to him being recruited out of Denton, Texas, that carried over to Stillwater. So now having Dunn pop in on his turf in the meeting rooms will be just as comfortable.

“It's great, so he can kind of feel like what I'm kind of iffy with and like what I kind of really like,” Sanders said. “So it kind of builds a closer connection, and instead of like, him just kind of being off in the distance and kind of calling what he wants to call on.

“I respect everything he wants to call him and I'm gonna run it, but just kind of having him be there he just kind of picks up a vibe with me. I can tell him, ‘Hey, I really liked this play. I don't really like that play.’ Or maybe, ‘I struggle with this play.’”

While Dunn may be able to pick up on the tendencies of his young quarterback, there is somebody else he is a little more cognitive of in the Cowboy football offices.

Having been on staff under three different offensive coordinators over the past 10 years, he’s not only learned offensive scheming, but how to prepare for dealing with the head man at Oklahoma State.

“I've seen the good things that those guys have done, and I've seen the things that have caused Gundy a few more gray hairs,” Dunn said. “So I'm just trying to minimize that. I'm trying to keep him in the big office and not in the unit room. So if we can do that, life would be good.”

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