It is commonly believed that the best athletes often do not make good coaches. Rather, it is average players that go on to become great gaffers. One person who certainly proves this notion true is Jon Gruden. Gruden played high school and college football but went undrafted in the 1986 NFL draft. These days, the ‘undrafted player’ is not just one of the youngest coaches to ever win the Super Bowl, but also holds the 3rd richest coaching contract in NFL history.
Jon Gruden Family’s Interest In Football Robbed Off On Him At An Early Age
Jon David Gruden was born on the 17th of August 1963 in the town of Sandusky, Ohio. He hails from a family of five comprising of dad, Jim, mom, Kathy, and brothers – James and Jay. His dad was a football scout, as well as an assistant coach at Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame. He later worked for The Tampa Bay Buccaneers as director of player personnel.
Apart from his dad, Jon Gruden’s family also has another accomplished football coach and that is Jay Gruden. Jay played college football at the University of Louisville, and thereafter, commenced his professional career in 1991. He spent the next 11 years playing for various teams in the Arena football league (the indoor version of the NLF) and won four Arena Bowl Titles with The Tampa Bay Storm.
Jay commenced his coaching career in the Arena Football League before going on to work for NFL teams such as The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Cincinnati Bengals, and Washington Redskins, among others. He is now working as the offensive coordinator of Jacksonville Jaguars, a position he assumed on January 22, 2020.
On Jon’s part, he started his pursuit of a career in football by playing high school football at Clay High School. For college, Gruden attended the University of Dayton, where he completed a degree in communications. He also played backup quarterback for 3 years, during which his team won 24 out of 31 games. Despite these enviable record, Gruden went undrafted in the 1986 draft.
He, however, did not despair but instead joined the University of Tennessee as a graduate assistant coach in 1985. From there, he went on to coach at various colleges, including Southeast Missouri State (1986 – 1988), University of The Pacific (1989), and University of Pittsburgh (1991).
He Has Been A Professional Coach For A Couple Of Decades Now
Jon Gruden’s first shot at coaching on a professional level came in January 1992 when his former coach, Mike Holmgren, from San Francisco 49ers offered him a job as an offensive assistant / wide receivers coach at Green Bay Packers. He spent 3 seasons with the team before moving on to become the offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, and after a couple of years there, he was made the head coach of Oakland Raiders in 1998.
Gruden would spend a total of 4 years with the team, during which he took them to 2 first-place finishes in the AFC West division. In 2002, Gruden joined The Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their head coach, and like anticipated, the Ohio native made an immediate impact as The Buccaneers won 12 games on their way to winning their first-ever Super Bowl title. Gruden spent a total of 7 seasons with The Buccaneers before he was fired on January 16th, 2009.
He was off the coaching radar for about 9 years, and during that time, he started what was called the Fired Football Coaches Association and also commenced his current broadcasting career as a sports analyst with ESPN. More so, it is known that he had been rejecting an offer from the Raider for about 6 years before finally agreeing to be the team’s head coach once again in 2018. The new contract, which is still ongoing, is meant to last for 10 years, and during that period, no-trade-offs are permitted.
The Coach Has Been Fined By The NFL For Not Wearing A Face Mask
There is no doubt that the COVID 19 pandemic has redefined the way things operate in the world as a whole and coaching is not an exception. For the likes of Coach Jon Gruden who enjoy being on the field or working in close contact with players, it has not been easy adapting to the new changes. In a recent interview, the Raiders coach has expressed both anxiety and concern with the way he works recently. He explains that meetings are normally conducted via zoom with the players, and this has taken all his time as he is saddled with the responsibility of preparing his team to adapt to the new system.
More so, it is known that Jon has been having a hard time adhering to COVID 19 rules by the NFL to wear face masks during games. He has been fined to the tune of $100,000 for not wearing his mask properly during the match on September 20, 2020. According to the coach, he is well aware of what COVID 19 can do as he has been diagnosed with the virus, but he has recovered fully. When he learned that of the fine he was to pay likewise his team’s fine of $250,000, Jon released an apology for not adhering to the rules explaining that he is doing his very best to cope with the situation.
That same day, Saints coach, Sean Payton was also fined the sum of $100,000, and his team was fined $250,000, which they are all expected to pay following the NFL rules. As of September 2020, it is reported that the NFL has fined coaches and teams up to $1.05 million for not complying with the face mask rule.
Jon Gruden Has Three Sons Who Are Athletes
Throughout the highs and lows of coaching, Jon Gruden’s family always supplied the love and support which has kept him going. The Raiders coach is married to long-term sweetheart, Cindy Gruden. Cindy (nee Brokes) is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. She studied music education and educational administration at the University of Tennessee, where she met Jon Gruden and eventually married him on 6th July 1991.
On the completion of her education, Cindy worked for the National Cheerleader Association, as well as teaching at High School Camps. More so, as her husband changed locations due to his work, she switched between schools she taught most of the time. Jon’s wife is also notable as a fitness enthusiast, and in recent times, she has been working as a fitness instructor in addition to her teaching work.
Jon Gruden’s family also comprises three athletically-gifted sons, namely Deuce, Michael, and Jayson. Although none of his three boys is actively pursuing a career as a coach in the NFL, they have all established themselves in the sports business. Deuce is a competitive powerlifter who won gold at the 2017 International Powerlifting Federation’s World Classic Championships in Belarus. He is now a strength and conditioning specialist and has worked for NFL teams such as The Washington Redskins and The Oakland Raiders.
Deuce also has a degree in biology (from Lafayette University) and is certified in USA weightlifting and FMS. Coach Gruden’s other two sons are not bad also as they are gradually making names for themselves in sports. Michael is known to have played high school soccer while Jayson is a budding martial arts fighter who specializes in Muay Thai.