Sherry Gruden doesn’t like to draw too much attention to herself.
This is, after all, her husband’s moment. And that husband, of course, is Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden. It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for Gruden who has faced criticism for the way he handled the Robert Griffin situation in Washington and his overall decisions about the team.
Still, Sherry has been there, supporting her husband and her family, just like she has been for years. Here’s what you need to know about the Kentucky native:
1. Gruden Worked as a Real Estate Agent & Buyers Specialist
While her husband was working on his coaching career in Florida, prowling the sidelines of the Arena Football League, Sherry was forging her own career path, working as a real estate agent and buyers specialist at Coldwell Banker.
She also previously worked for Matt Davies, a real estate specialist in Orlando, Florida.
2. She & Jay Have Three Children & One Grandchild
Sherry and Jay have three children together, JJ, Joey and Jack. Joey is currently a walk-on on the Dayton men’s basketball team and made sports blog headlines earlier this March for his rather exuberant sideline celebrations with the Flyers. Check it out. He’s the one in the middle, crouched in a quasi-defensive stance:
Joey was originally going to play Division III football after playing safety in high school in Ohio but opted to attend a larger school and walked-on with the Flyers.
Sherry and Jay Gruden also recently became grandparents when their oldest son JJ had a son of his own in 2014.
3. Gruden Grew Up in Kentucky & Attended Louisville
Sherry grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, attending Sacred Heart Academy and graduating in 1987. She also attended college at Lousiville, where she first met Jay.
Jay was a standout for the Cardinals football program in the late 1980’s. In fact, he was honored as the team’s captain and MVP in 1989 after four years on the squad. During his senior season, Jay completed 224 of 382 pass attempts for a career-high 2,606 yards and 17 touchdowns.
NFL scouts failed to notice though and despite signing a contract with the Miami Dolphins developmental squad in 1989, Jay would only ever play in the Arena Football League.
4. She’s Active in a Handful of Local Charities
Although Sherry tries to stay out of the NFL-related spotlight, she made headlines in 2014 when a video emerged of her competing in a charity danging competition in Cincinnatti, Ohio called “Dancing for the Stars.”
The benefit was put on in order to raise money for an area high school student pursuing an arts career. Sherry and her partner danced to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.” They placed third in the competition and the partner had some comments on her performance, saying “We had a lot of fouls in the studio. It’s the largest potty mouth on the smallest woman.”
5. Jay Put Off Coaching in the NFL to Spend Time With Sherry & His Family
If the Gruden family was honest, they all know that Jay probably could have been an NFL coach years ago. He just didn’t pursue it.
It seems strange that a man who had spent years working and hoping, living and breathing football would put off a move to the NFL but for Gruden, it made sense. He had a family. He had Sherry. He had three sons. He wanted to spend time with them. So he did. Gruden told the Orlando Sentinel:
I liked my job. I had a great time coaching in the arena league. My wife (Sherry) was happy, my kids were happy, I was coaching my kids’ basketball and football teams and really enjoying life. I really had no desire to up and move.
Gruden added that he probably would have stayed with the Orlando Predators if the Arena Football League hadn’t restructured several years ago. In fact, the only reason he made the move to the pros was that his sons had grown up. But in between that move and waiting for the chance, Gruden and his family made moments they could never replicate. For them, that was more important than the paycheck.