When Mike Gundy wants a raise from Oklahoma State, he just sits tight as the coach knows a phone call from Tennessee is never too far away.

Gundy may have deep roots in Stillwater, where he played quarterback from 1986-1989 and has served as a coach going on 25 years, but the head coach of Oklahoma State’s program admits his third opportunity to take over on Rocky Top was nearly the one that he jumped at. That’s right, according to Gundy, he’s said no to Tennessee on three separate occasions.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Chris Low, the Oklahoma State coach said the Vols have offered him the head coaching job after Lane Kiffin left Tennessee and after both Derek Dooley and Butch Jones were fired on Rocky Top.

“I’ve had that (Tennessee) job offered three different times,” Gundy recently said according to ESPN. “It’s ironic that it’s always been Tennessee. I guess it gets to a point where you say, ‘Is it time for me to make a change? I’m 50-something years old. Is it time for me to go do things differently?’ Sometimes in your life, you think that way.

“Tennessee put together an unbelievable package, and it’s hard to tell somebody no when that happens. But I made the right decision.”

Of course, following one of the most bizarre coaching searches in college football history, AD Phillip Fulmer eventually hired Jeremy Pruitt to lead Tennessee’s program. While Pruitt only led Tennessee to a 5-7 season in his debut season, Gundy only managed to lead Oklahoma State to a 7-6 season in 2018. For his career, Gundy has a 121-59 overall record as head coach in Stillwater.

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Tennessee online sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.