Jon Gruden

Les Miles’ $15 million buyout reportedly not an issue for LSU boosters

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Last week word started spreading that LSU head coach Les Miles may be coaching for his job. That was after losing back-to-back games to Alabama and Arkansas. Well now he has lost three in a row after the Tigers were topped by Ole Miss last night, dropping the Tigers out of both major polls today. If you needed to throw another log on the fire that is warming Miles’ seat in Baton Rouge, here is one more piece of noteworthy information regarding his buyout. Even at $15 million, that price tag may not be high enough to discourage boosters from having their way with the position.

From James Smith of The Times-Picayune;

The $15 million-dollar buyout clause that is in Les Miles’ contract is what many perceive as one of the bigger hang-ups in making a move.

However, TAF, the athletic program’s booster club that funds a lot of the athletic programs for LSU, will not allow the buyout issue to thwart its plans, according to a high-ranking source.

According to the report, Miles has had discussions with LSU officials recently to discuss his future, and retirement at the end of the 2016 season has been discussed. That may not be soon enough for some boosters with the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which may be an indication this will get a bit uglier before too long.

So here’s the issue at play for LSU’s powers. If you feel the program is underachieving under Les Miles and his real-time decision-making is a hurdle, there is absolutely no reason not to move on and find a new coach to lead the program. If LSU is viewed internally as a national title caliber program, and Miles is not reaching that level of success, then being stuck in neutral while Alabama continues to rule the SEC West is not advisable. The question of whether or not you find a coach better than Miles is not what needs to be answered. It is what coach will give you the best chance to reach that next level. Maybe it is Miles. Maybe it is someone else. That’s what needs to be discussed and agreed upon before jumping the gun on buying out the contract Miles has in place.

So who are some of the names listed as potential targets for LSU? Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and TCU’s Gary Patterson have their name dropped in NOLA.com report. Fisher has won a BCS national title with Florida State and coached the Seminoles to a spot in the playoff last season. Having him in the same division as Alabama would be fun, as would having Swinney in the same division against Alabama. Neither is likely to happen, as both are in good situations where they currently reside as well. Never say never in coaching carousel season, but Patterson leaving TCU has been discussed year after year. He has everything he has worked to build sitting right there in Fort Worth with TCU, so leaving now may not be in the fold either. Just for good measure, good old Jon Gruden gets name dropped as a candidate as well, because why not?

Gruden’s not going to coach in college. If he ever returns to a sideline, it will be in the NFL.

Jon Gruden on Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: ‘Greatest coaching job of all time’

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ESPN’s Jon Gruden is often criticized due to his bouts of hyperbole, but his stance on Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer may have redefined even his barometer.

What Ohio State accomplished last season was certainly astounding.

After the team lost to the hapless Virginia Tech Hokies 35-21 during the second week of the season, the Buckeyes changed gears and eventually ran roughshod through the Big Ten’s conference schedule and championship game, into the first ever College Football Playoff and grabbed the school’s eight national championship.

“Maybe the best coach in the SEC went to the Big Ten,” Gruden told Colin Cowherd during a radio interview, via CoachingSearch.com. “Urban Meyer did the greatest coaching job of all time. Winning a national championship with his third-string quarterback, I’ve never seen that before. … I’ve always respected him. Won two national titles at Florida.

“What he did at Ohio State, losing a Heisman Trophy candidate and then doing what he did with two different quarterbacks that were backups. Amazing to me.”

All of this came a year earlier than expected. Next year’s Ohio State squad was supposed to be the breakthrough team for Meyer in Columbus. Instead, the program is a year ahead of schedule and will almost certainly enter this coming season as the No. 1 team in the country.

However, none of that makes the most recent National Championship run the greatest in football history. Yes, the Buckeyes were forced to start three different quarterbacks. But all of them were more talented than…say…Craig Krenzel, who led the Buckeyes to the 2002 National Championship.

In fact, Ohio State was considered a 12-point underdog to an absolutely loaded Miami Hurricanes squad that year. The difference in overall talent level from top to bottom was actually in Ohio State’s favor against the Oregon Ducks in January.

It was a tremendous run by Meyer and his Buckeyes, but this is another case where Gruden remains completely over the top with his comments.

Jon Gruden once wanted to be head coach at Michigan

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Over the past few years it seems anytime there was a high-profile coaching vacancy available, Jon Gruden had his name pop up from fans or media. Gruden has a Super Bowl ring and he has had a number of good coaching jobs in his career, starting with his role as a graduate assistant at Tennessee to his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won a Super Bowl ring as head coach in his final stop. Will Gruden one day return to coaching? Perhaps, although he has a pretty nice gig going right now as an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football and his own annual quarterback profile series leading up to the NFL Draft.

If there is one job that could lure Gruden away from the TV booth and cameras, maybe, just maybe, it could be the University of Michigan.

It is believed Michigan is likely heading to a coaching search at the end of the season, although Brady Hoke remains the head coach of the Wolverines and AD Dave Brandon has not indicated a change is needed at this time. Michigan enters this weekend’s night game against Penn State riding a three-game losing streak and is looking to avoid a dreadful 0-3 start in Big Ten play with games against Michigan State and Ohio State still to be played. The names swirling around as Michigan’s next head coach are Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh, but if you dig deep into the archives of Dayton football, perhaps the answer is sitting right in front of Michigan.

Take a look at this bio of former Dayton quarterback Jon Gruden, from a 1984 media guide dug up and shared by Dayton student Dan Whitaker…

Gruden is much more geared to be an NFL head coach, as opposed to running a college program. If he does one day leave the TV booth to return to the sidelines, it would be much more likely to happen with an NFL franchise. Michigan may actually have a better chance of getting Harbaugh from the 49ers. Maybe the 49ers would make a call to Gruden?