This guy here is a guy who was close to being an assistant at Oregon for Chip Kelly.
Jon Gruden has been tied to many a college football coaching rumor since being fired as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Notre Dame, Tennessee, Miami, you name it. If Gruden wanted to coach in the college level, he could have had the school of his choice perhaps. Instead, Gruden remains a fixture in the Monday Night Football booth and the namesake of Gruden's QB Camp. But how close was Gruden to ever getting in to the college game? Pretty close, as it turns out.
In an LA Times story about Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, Gruden discusses what he believes to be an overreaction to the new style up-tempo offense the Eagles have been implementing this year. In it, Gruden explains that it was Kelly who nearly lured Chuckie in to the college game while head coach at Oregon.
"Matter of fact," Gruden said, "he offered me the offensive coordinator job of the Ducks right when I got fired so I could learn his spread. I was going to do it, but my wife was halfway out the door."
It always comes back to family, right? Gruden was fired by Tampa Bay in 2008. Gruden, a former offensive coordinator with the Eagles and assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, last coached in college 1991 as a wide receivers coach for Pittsburgh. Kelly needed an offensive coordinator on his staff after being promoted to head coach of the Ducks in 2009 following the promotion of Mike Belloti to athletics director.
What would have happened had Gruden accepted the offer as offensive coordinator? The odds are probably pretty good Gruden would be a head coach today, as success at Oregon would have kept him in the mix for nearly any head coaching gig he had interest in, and without getting in to the TV business the course would have remained on track for a coaching gig down the line. Perhaps he would have actually become Tennessee's head coach instead of Butch Jones, and Vols fan video tributes would be too numerous to count. And then he leads Tennessee in to Autzen Stadium this September. Oh, what could have been…