When Jon Gruden resigned during the 2021 season from his job as the Las Vegas Raiders head coach, it appeared that his coaching career could be over. The emails that were leaked to the media showed him using sexist, racist and misogynistic language. However, college teams tend to be more forgiving than NFL teams as evidenced by Hugh Freeze landing the Auburn job recently.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently floated the idea of Gruden returning to the Raiders if Josh McDaniels gets fired but that seems highly unlikely. Mark Davis is probably the only owner in the NFL that would even consider touching the coach. He’s most likely done coaching at the NFL level due to the lawsuit.
That won’t affect his ability to get a job in college and the perfect opening may have become available. The UNLV Rebels recently fired head coach Marcus Arroyo. With Las Vegas becoming a bigger and bigger sports town, the Rebels might want to go big with their next hire. Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal suggested that Gruden could be the perfect match.
The coach has already sold his Las Vegas house but could easily buy a new one. UNLV has had one winning season since 2001 so they’d be wise to at least consider Gruden.
Gruden Could Be Better Fit in College
Gruden is a Super Bowl-winning head coach but it was clear during his second stint with the Raiders that the game was passing him by. He went 22-31 with the team before resigning. While he still showed that he can be a solid head coach, he was a disaster as a general manager. Though Mike Mayock held the title, Gruden called most of the shots.
The coach’s style has been known to wear on players after a few years. College would be perfect for him as he’ll be cycling through players every year. There’s also no denying that Gruden is as charismatic as they come. He’d likely be very good at recruiting. In college, he wouldn’t be in charge of drafting, free agent signings or making trades. He’d still have to build a roster but it would be much different. It’s easy to see Gruden having success at the college level.
Would Gruden Even Want to Coach in College?
Gruden got his coaching start in college as a graduate assistant for Tennessee back in 1986. He spent the next several years coaching in college before landing a job with the Green Bay Packers in 1992. He’s been an NFL coach ever since. However, it’s never too late to return to college. The question is if Gruden would even want to coach in the college ranks.
It’s certainly a different experience. It’s a job that takes every day of the year. Recruiting is not an easy job and it’s something Gruden hasn’t had to do. That said, there won’t be a lot of NFL teams vying for his services. Going to a team like UNLV could be great for the coach. There’d be little pressure considering the fact that the Rebels haven’t had a good season in a long time. He’d also be able to coach in a city and stadium that he’s familiar with. They’d also likely pay him a boatload of money. It remains to be seen if Gruden would consider college but it could be the best career move he could make.