ARLINGTON, Texas — Johnny Wilson loved Josh Henson. Wilson, a fifth-year senior offensive lineman at Oklahoma State, called his former position coach "awesome." Henson "had a lot of knowledge" about a lot of things, particularly about the history of the program — he's an Oklahoma State alum, after all.
But new offensive line coach Charlie Dickey is a different animal.
"Dickey brings more of a mean attitude to it," Wilson said earlier this week at Big 12 Media Days. "He wants the job done right, and he wants it done in a mean way. So I love the guy."
Perhaps it only was a matter of time before Dickey ended up at Oklahoma State.
Every time Cowboys coach Mike Gundy had an opening on his staff, he had tried — and failed — to hire Dickey, who served as Kansas State’s offensive line coach from 2009 through 2018. After Bill Snyder’s retirement in December, a path finally cleared for Gundy to land Dickey.
“I tried to hire Charlie a few times before, got close,” Gundy said. “He had great loyalty to Coach Snyder at Kansas State for all the right reasons. The timing worked out perfect for us and for Charlie.”
Gundy said the hire was nearly instantaneous. The way Gundy tells it, five minutes after Henson left for Texas A&M, he picked up the phone and called Dickey, who accepted the offer. One day after Henson’s departure, Gundy announced Dickey’s addition to the staff.
“It’s been great for Coach (Dickey),” Gundy said, “and great for Oklahoma State.”
What's made it even better, Wilson said, is Dickey's background in the Big 12.
"He'll mention other teams in the middle of a meeting," Wilson said. "Like, 'This team does just this like K-State used to do' or 'This D-line is the same as this (school).' It's funny because we can all relate to it, because we've been there and played those teams. So it's cool having that knowledge from another perspective."
It didn't hurt Dickey's case that he had an ally already on staff in Joe Bob Clements. The pair worked together at K-State for three seasons; Clements was the Wildcats' defensive ends coach from 2009 to 2011 before adding the title of defense run game coordinator in K-State's Big 12-championship winning season in 2012. So Gundy, as is his custom, said he asked Clements' thoughts on Dickey, which were positive.
Yet Gundy said that recommendation wasn't nearly as important as his own rosy perceptions of the way K-State's offensive line eclipsed — repeatedly — recruiting services' evaluations of their talent.
"I (had) always been impressed with their ability to perform at a high level from a blocking standpoint with ... two- or three-star players, for lack of a better term," Gundy said. "So I had had (Dickey) there and ready to hire."