Opportunity at the U piquing Gruden’s interest?

I don’t often report on the college game here, but this story has legs at the pro level as well, so I’m making an exception.

According to Steve Gorten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, sources close to the University of Miami football program have indicated that ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Jon Gruden initiated contact with athletic director Kirby Hocutt about potentially becoming the next head coach at the U after Hocutt dismissed Randy Shannon from his position as the team’s head coach last night.

Gruden is expected to be one of the hottest coaches available this off-season for NFL teams to choose from, despite having signed a multi-year extension to stay in the Monday Night Football booth last year. That said, a stint at the college level definitely wouldn’t be all that strange, as it would give Gruden the level of control he wants, without all the distractions that come along with being in charge of all player personnel decisions in the NFL.

NFL teams that would likely show interest in Gruden this off-season include Dallas, Minnesota, Carolina, and Cleveland.

It remains to be seen if Miami will reciprocate Gruden’s interest or not, but given his proven track record in the pro game and his household name recognition, a Gruden hiring definitely makes sense on a number of levels. Gruden is also seen as being one of the top offensive minds in the game right now, and would immediately bring an exciting brand of football to Coral Gables, which is something that’s been lacking in recent years.

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