Jon Gruden once wanted to be head coach at Michigan


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?

Minnesota gives Fleck 1-year extension, plus raise

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Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck had his contract extended Wednesday by an additional year with a $1 million raise in annual salary, after the latest round of big spending by Big Ten rivals.

The new seven-year deal will run through the 2029 season, the university announced without releasing terms. Fleck will now make $6 million per year, a person with knowledge of the contract confirmed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been finalized.

Last week, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule and Wisconsin hired Luke Fickell to put them in the top tier of head coach compensation in the conference. In terms of average annual value, the 42-year-old Fleck is eighth in the Big Ten behind Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Rhule, Fickell, Penn State’s James Franklin, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. All seven of those coaches make $7 million or more per season.

The Gophers (8-4) play Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. They’re 3-0 in bowl games under Fleck, who was hired away from Western Michigan in 2017.

Minnesota tied for second place in the Big Ten West Division this year, behind Purdue. Fleck is 43-27 overall with the Gophers, including 26-26 in conference play. They’re 0-6 against Iowa and 3-3 against Wisconsin, their primary rivals.

Fleck’s winning percentage is third-best in program history among coaches with 45 games or more, behind Henry Williams (1900-21) and Bernie Bierman (1932-41).

“What P.J. and his staff have done in a short amount of time is remarkable,” athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement distributed by the university. “He has recruited and developed some of the best student-athletes to ever play at Minnesota and his team continues to excel academically, athletically and socially.”

This is the fifth time in six years on the job that Fleck’s deal has been adjusted to keep up with the competition, as power conference coach contracts these days rarely have less than five years on them at any time. Minnesota extended his deal a year ago, too.

In that iteration of his contract, the termination fees Fleck would owe Minnesota if he were to hop to another program were bumped way up. Those numbers landed at $7 million in 2023, $5 million in 2024, $4 million in 2025 and $3 million in 2026. Details about those figures in the new deal were not immediately available.

Virginia players granted extra year of eligibility

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to Virginia players whose eligibility has expired in the aftermath of the slaying of three members of the team, the school confirmed.

Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were killed last month as they returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. A former player at the school, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is facing three counts of second-degree murder and other charges in the shooting. A fourth player, Mike Hollins, and student Marlee Morgan were injured in the shooting.

Virginia canceled its final two games of the season after the shooting, and the team and university community memorialized the victims in a nearly two-hour service on campus. Team members also traveled to each of the three funerals held for their teammates.