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You Cannot Hire Jon Gruden

I can’t believe I'm having to write this.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

You cannot hire Jon Gruden to be the next head coach of USF’s football team. I could end the piece right there, but of course I will expand upon this further.

It was reported Monday from some circles that Jon Gruden is interested in becoming the next USF head coach to replace Jeff Scott, who was fired Sunday evening.

The accuracy of this reporting is a question within itself, as it would be a record turnaround time from firing to hiring for a collegiate sports team. The ink had barely dried on Jeff Scott’s termination papers before this reported “it’s Gruden’s job if he wants it” scenario had popped up. With how meticulous USF’s administration is (Steve Masiello not withstanding), this just doesn’t seem likely that an Athletics Department would be willing to move this quickly on an individual, and that’s not even getting into the bad stuff about said individual.

So why can’t you hire Jon Gruden? It’s simple really

He is the Antithesis of a College Football Coach

Talk about a total 180 degree flip from Jeff Scott, Jon Gruden represents no ideal qualities of a college football coach, let alone in the year 2022. The idea of hiring a football coach who was founded to be sending homophobic, misogynistic, and racist emails while the head coach of an NFL team that lead to his dismissal within the last five years is asinine.

Coupled with the fact that he would be coaching in Raymond James Stadium (at least until 2026-2027 when USF’s On Campus Stadium is slated to open), which is host to the NFL franchise who removed him from their Ring of Honor over those aforementioned emails, things might get a little awkward around North Dale Mabry Highway.

But let’s look beyond the racism, misogyny, and homophobia for a second to talk about his resume.

  • A career .511 win percentage
  • Disgruntled player management during his time as a head coach, including refusing the play rookie players, QB mismanagement, etc.
  • Didn’t make the playoffs in 9 of his 14 seasons as a head coach

Gruden hasn’t coached college football in 31 years, he was the the WR coach at Pitt in 1991, the following things happened:

  • The writer of this article was born (1995)
  • The editor of this website was born (1991)
  • 29 football programs have joined Division 1 football (including USF)
  • The format for selecting a National Championship had changed FIVE times
  • The Landscape of College Football Conferences and TV Deals changed Power Programs
  • The Transfer Portal and NIL Laws have been established

Now, imagine this man trying to create relationships with 14-17 year old kids to convince them to come to USF. Then bringing them to campus, and his assignment is to mold these young men into football players who also represent their community. Then he must help navigate the NIL landscape, and be the forefront of a university who is putting every imaginable effort into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Amongst many, MANY other things that have changes around the college football game. Even then, we don’t have to look that far to see an example of a team that hired a coach that hadn’t been around the college football landscape in over 30 years to see how much of a disaster it is. Herm Edwards was let go by Arizona State after a five year stint in Tempe and a 26-20 overall record. His time there is marred by controversy after the 2021 season, where 17 players entered the transfer portal, assistant coaches were put on leave or resigned, and later found out that some of these assistants were purposefully sabotaging the team by leaking key information to opponents.

This will not work. Stop talking about it.