Reports: Arkansas has made an offer to Jon Gruden

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, right, stands with his wife Cindy during the premier of The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story premiered at the Tennessee Theatre on Wednesday, February 16, 2011.

Photo by Saul Young

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, right, stands with his wife Cindy during the premier of The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story premiered at the Tennessee Theatre on Wednesday, February 16, 2011.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - An offer has reportedly been made for a new head coach at the University of Arkansas.

Jim Harris, THV 11's affiliate sports reporter, says the university has offered Jon Gruden the head coach position for the Razorbacks football team.

Gruden is currently with ESPN and serves as an analyst for Monday Night Football.

Harris doesn't expect Gruden to take the offer, putting the odds at "one in 10 or even one in 20." He said Gruden may have shown a slight bit of interest and that "Arkansas is swinging for the fences and making an offer."

Continue reading at KTHV

-----

Longtime ArkansasSports360 editor and former Arkansas beat writer Jim Harris also tweeted as much late Monday: "My sources say Arkansas has made an offer to ESPN pro analyst Jon Gruden."

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 228

jkleno#393970 writes:

Offer would make him highest paid SEC coach

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Hmmmm, I already heard UT offered and signed Gruden to a 4 yr deal worth 6.2 million a year..Interesting.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Folks if Tennessee lets this happen then everything we have been told about money not being an issue in hiring a new coach is a croc. If we end up with another 2nd tier coach then it's over for Tennessee football for another 5 years. All my info says it will be Tennessee.

Smoky_Mtn_Vol writes:

This same guy also said that he thinks there is a less than 5% chance he will accept it.

volaholic45 writes:

Nooooooooo!

volfan1202 writes:

Hart, Stop di***ng around and get Gruden!

agarn writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Hmmmm, I already heard UT offered and signed Gruden to a 4 yr deal worth 6.2 million a year..Interesting.

Sources?

checkerboards writes:

This is a desperate attempt by the Hogs. I think they are feeling the heat cause Gruden is interested in UT. Come on Dave! Pull this one out!

dontdroptheVOL writes:

Personaly never been much on the Gruden bandwagon how ever he may be a good first year recruiter if he is hired simply because his name after that it would be based on his production as a head coach. Bottom line if Tennessee ask him he will put the price on the table. Tenn then will have to met it. Gruden's record is 95-81

underthehill writes:

Much ado about nothing..Gruden..ain't leaving no Golden Goose to go to work for less than what he has got..and UT ain't got the 50 mil..10yrs @ 5 mil a year to go out on a limb..ain't happening..

jjsteel writes:

in response to underthehill:

Much ado about nothing..Gruden..ain't leaving no Golden Goose to go to work for less than what he has got..and UT ain't got the 50 mil..10yrs @ 5 mil a year to go out on a limb..ain't happening..

Cindy wants to be near her family.
She is telling Jon "Do what you think is best".
Which means "I want to be back home"(Tennessee)
Jon knows whats best. (Keep Cindy happy)

JohnnyVol writes:

in response to dontdroptheVOL:

Personaly never been much on the Gruden bandwagon how ever he may be a good first year recruiter if he is hired simply because his name after that it would be based on his production as a head coach. Bottom line if Tennessee ask him he will put the price on the table. Tenn then will have to met it. Gruden's record is 95-81

That 95-81 includes a Super Bowl ring and another team almost to the Super Bowl.

keithgibson writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Hmmmm, I already heard UT offered and signed Gruden to a 4 yr deal worth 6.2 million a year..Interesting.

you are an idiot. Gruden is not going to coach any college!

govolsn3 writes:

If GRUDEN does take the job, how long is he going to get to win a national championship 1 or 2 years. Just saying, that is what most VOLS fans expect is going to happen and it just insn't going to. No matter who takes the job the very best is 4-5 years to get a SEC championship and that is only if the next coach can recruit. GRUDEN is a big name but can he go into a kids house and convince mom and dad he will be there to take care of their kids. If GRUDEN was to turn around a win or play for a national championship, he would bolt for a huge pro contract the following year. Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me for him to be interested in UT. GO VOLS>>>VFL

nocleats writes:

Walton (WalMart) money and Jerry Jones money$

pcorange writes:

If Gruden has been offered by Tennessee, he hasn't accepted. All these rumors about him being signed to a multi-year contract here are just being put out there by people who, if it does come to fruition, can get back on here and boast that they said it first. No way Tennessee has signed him yet. If we had, it would have been announced at the press conference Sunday afternoon. Something tells me that Hart isn't as interested in him as we are, for whatever reason.

CrankE writes:

If Arky takes him, then good for them and good for UT. The media spotlight-such as it is will not be on UT and Hart and company can work on getting the RIGHT guy. (Which may not be the flashiest, splashiest $60M guy.)

I have a feeling that hiring Gruden would be just one more "sugar rush" of magic dust that would cost more than Tennessee could pay, provide us only a temporary high-and escape from our problems, and a nice soft descent back to where we are now (or worse).

Find the right guy and strike a deal with him. Backload the contract with performance incentives. You defeat archrivals? Bonus. You finish in the top ten? Bonus. You get to SEC Championship? Bonus. You fill up Neyland Stadium with Big Orange (not an archrival's color)? Bonus. By contrast, it seems that the single biggest financial incentive in Dooley's contract was the buyout that awaited him if he failed to do what he was hired to do. Seems to me he'll make more money not coaching than he did while he was coaching.

underthehill writes:

in response to jjsteel:

Cindy wants to be near her family.
She is telling Jon "Do what you think is best".
Which means "I want to be back home"(Tennessee)
Jon knows whats best. (Keep Cindy happy)

Good idea..but John's got it awful easy..and just watching him..he seems to love letting people know what a genius he thinks he is..

pcorange writes:

in response to govolsn3:

If GRUDEN does take the job, how long is he going to get to win a national championship 1 or 2 years. Just saying, that is what most VOLS fans expect is going to happen and it just insn't going to. No matter who takes the job the very best is 4-5 years to get a SEC championship and that is only if the next coach can recruit. GRUDEN is a big name but can he go into a kids house and convince mom and dad he will be there to take care of their kids. If GRUDEN was to turn around a win or play for a national championship, he would bolt for a huge pro contract the following year. Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me for him to be interested in UT. GO VOLS>>>VFL

I think the fans who believe any coach, no matter how good, is going to take this team to the national championship in his second year are delusional. I do, however, think that Jon Gruden would have us relevant in 2 years. I think losing seasons would be a thing of the past. I think we would be able compete and win in the SEC again. I think another national title run would be a while in the making, but that's okay. Just get us off the bottom of the barrel and then we can worry about working our way up. Getting some solid wins and bringing in a little excitement will get the attention of the better recruits and we can start to build another great team. I really hope Gruden gets a shot at the job and takes it. I also hope that our administration is smart enough not to break the bank on him since there are still some questions as to just how good he will be as a college coach.

HoraceMorris writes:

Maybe this explains why Gruden was wearing a red tie last night.

bigdisbig writes:

All this talk about Gruden can be a huge letdown in many ways. Lets suppose Gruden does come to Tennessee. Would he pull a Kiffin in a few years once the right NFL job comes open? He does have the itch to coach again. Then again, if Kiffy gets fired at USC maybe he would go there? Lets face it, the Tennessee job is going to take a few years for the cupboard will be depleated after this year. The Vols had some promising players but underachieved under Dooley. Whoever takes over this program will have an uphill battle.

BigBadVol writes:

I think the price will be too high to get Gruden. UT is broke at the moment thanks to Mikey Hamilton and his generous payouts. A 60 million reserve is at 2 million. If the boosters say get him at any cost then maybe; otherwise, it's a dream.

thebadsamaritan writes:

Why would Gruden coach college? He has it made at ESPN. They booted Ron Jaworski from the Monday Night Football booth because Gruden wanted him gone.

UT needs Art Briles from Baylor. Excellent coach with a proven track record of turning around programs and making them contenders.

MGVOL22 writes:

Who cares!!! I hope they get Gruden .. IF at the end of the day he comes to Tennessee I will be behind him but he wouldn't be my first choice....Do you think he is going to stay? or just leave for the NFL in say 2/3 years?

If you want stable program, look for a coach that will be there for 5/10 years... Personally I am hoping that the shift with the Big East will all Tennessee to make a run for Chris Petersen or Charlie Strong. BOTH of them would be 100% better COLLEGE coaches then Gruden!!

pcorange writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Coaches are constantly being fired in the NFL. In most cases, they will be employed as a coach again. It doesn't mean that they were a bad coach. It just means that the results didn't come. Unfortunately, more so than in college, NFL coaches seem to have very little say in their roster as the salary cap, free agency, and accountants in the front office have a big say in who plays for you. The guy has won a Super Bowl, for heaven's sake. He's not a bad coach. Before you say "He did it with Dungy's players", consider first that the coach doesn't have a whole lot to do with who the players are, and second that even if he did, then the argument could be made that Oakland went to the Super Bowl with Gruden's players.

totoiv writes:

Anyone ever thought that Gruden could coach at Tennessee and bring his son, who is committed to a Division II team. While I don't see his son playing QB in SEC as he is small he may want to coach eventually and would relish going to UT as a back-up with his Dad as coach.

JohnnyVol writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

amyinsparta...Bill Belichick was fired once too. It often happens to the best of coaches.

But...as a random thought, I must say that some things make me feel better about our entire situation. When I remember L.Kiffin standing there in front of the TV saying, "we believe we are leaving the Tennessee football program in better shape than when we came" it makes me feel good to read...

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/st...

Vol86 writes:

Now we are against Gruden coaching because Arky offered first. Come on he would be a great hire. These sites are getting dumb.

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to HoraceMorris:

Maybe this explains why Gruden was wearing a red tie last night.

a red tie is a red tie. An orange tie is a statement...

Don't think JG or anyone is ready to make a statement yet.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

I think the price will be too high to get Gruden. UT is broke at the moment thanks to Mikey Hamilton and his generous payouts. A 60 million reserve is at 2 million. If the boosters say get him at any cost then maybe; otherwise, it's a dream.

60-2=48. The payouts will barely top 10 maybe closer to 15 mill. Not that anything you said was even close to right but simple 3rd grade math would label you an idiot.

Buzz and Phil's buyouts where paid by Haslem as are most buyouts. Hammy was a fool and ruined UT athletics but buyouts are a part of college sports on this level and UT does not live on an island where they can be the only school that does not provide buyouts.

You would be hiring a high school coach if there was no buyouts in their contracts. Besides, Phil earned evey penny as the most successful coach in school history and one of the most successful in college football history. The rest of the country laughs at UT for firing a legend. Hammy was weak as water and did whatever he thought the vocal small minority wanted. That leaves us in a bind that will not be fixed for decades regardless of who the next coach is. The only person that can get close to the fantasy land expectations of UT fans is James Franklin.

wallingdad writes:

I think I would go after someone who would be serious about the opportunity and work extremely hard to be successful. someone who has proven that he is good but wants to elevate his position. Someone like a Charlie Strong or a Gary Patterson or the Baylor coach. all those have been successful in their respective positions but would relish the chance to be a head coach in the SEC and work hard. I am guessing that Gruden would not take it as serious as some of the up and comers would.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Folks if Tennessee lets this happen then everything we have been told about money not being an issue in hiring a new coach is a croc. If we end up with another 2nd tier coach then it's over for Tennessee football for another 5 years. All my info says it will be Tennessee.

The fact that you think anyone would make UT relevant in 5 years makes you one of the fantasy land expectations fans. Tenn was not relevant in the vast majority of it's history pre Phil. Why on earth would anyone think they will be relevant for decades at a school with leadership issues, money problems, expectation problems, NCAA problems and most importantly an in state talent problem?

You all wanted this change. I told everyone the stupidity of it all. You got it now embrace it. It is what you wanted. Enjoy another 5-7 or 4-8. That is your future regardless of who they hire or what you want it to be.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

we need to up the offer for the man. he's the real deal, if we don't get him, someone will.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

John Gruden's record the next three years if he takes the UT job: 15-21

My record for the next three years if I took the UT job: 15-21

Witchdoctor's record for the next three years if he took the UT job: 15-21

Point is, the program is awful, the players are bad, the few good players are as good as gone.

Cousin_Eddie writes:

Arkansas had to make to offer to at least be able to tell their fanbase that they tried for the home run before they end up with Tubberville.

smokysbark writes:

in response to wallingdad:

I think I would go after someone who would be serious about the opportunity and work extremely hard to be successful. someone who has proven that he is good but wants to elevate his position. Someone like a Charlie Strong or a Gary Patterson or the Baylor coach. all those have been successful in their respective positions but would relish the chance to be a head coach in the SEC and work hard. I am guessing that Gruden would not take it as serious as some of the up and comers would.

You mean like Dooley? His work ethic was second to none and he couldn't win in the SEC. I have my own opinions about the coaching hierarchy search but to say that we need a coach that works hard and is serious about success is a little short sighted in my opinion. They all work hard ... that doesn't always equate to success.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

60-2=48. The payouts will barely top 10 maybe closer to 15 mill. Not that anything you said was even close to right but simple 3rd grade math would label you an idiot.

Buzz and Phil's buyouts where paid by Haslem as are most buyouts. Hammy was a fool and ruined UT athletics but buyouts are a part of college sports on this level and UT does not live on an island where they can be the only school that does not provide buyouts.

You would be hiring a high school coach if there was no buyouts in their contracts. Besides, Phil earned evey penny as the most successful coach in school history and one of the most successful in college football history. The rest of the country laughs at UT for firing a legend. Hammy was weak as water and did whatever he thought the vocal small minority wanted. That leaves us in a bind that will not be fixed for decades regardless of who the next coach is. The only person that can get close to the fantasy land expectations of UT fans is James Franklin.

General Neyland is still the best football coach in Tennessee history, young man!

AllforTenn writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

The fact that you think anyone would make UT relevant in 5 years makes you one of the fantasy land expectations fans. Tenn was not relevant in the vast majority of it's history pre Phil. Why on earth would anyone think they will be relevant for decades at a school with leadership issues, money problems, expectation problems, NCAA problems and most importantly an in state talent problem?

You all wanted this change. I told everyone the stupidity of it all. You got it now embrace it. It is what you wanted. Enjoy another 5-7 or 4-8. That is your future regardless of who they hire or what you want it to be.

What an ignorant post. Tennessee is among the top 10 programs in wins all time, more bowl games than any program except Alabama, et cetera.
If this is the best you can do you should just shut up. You Fulmer lovers need to get over it.

smokysbark writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

The fact that you think anyone would make UT relevant in 5 years makes you one of the fantasy land expectations fans. Tenn was not relevant in the vast majority of it's history pre Phil. Why on earth would anyone think they will be relevant for decades at a school with leadership issues, money problems, expectation problems, NCAA problems and most importantly an in state talent problem?

You all wanted this change. I told everyone the stupidity of it all. You got it now embrace it. It is what you wanted. Enjoy another 5-7 or 4-8. That is your future regardless of who they hire or what you want it to be.

So your solution was staying with Dooley for another 4-7 season?

In-state recruiting problem: UT has never been a hot bed of talent. We always recruit GA, FL, CA, AL is some cases, and the midwestern states. Any coach that comes here knows full well what the recruiting areas are. That hasn't changed for 30 years.

Relevant in 5 years: The right coach is out there. Nueheisal left UCLA in shambles and Mora Jr is on the cusp of winning the PAC 12 South. Albeit in a lesser conference but there are still some good schools and he has some signature wins out there with that lack of talent. It is more than possible with the right coach to get the program back in an 8 win state within a couple of years and move on up from there. All of these coaches being mentioned by everyone have taken basement programs to respectability or they wouldn't be mentioned!

Not relevant for decades: Please ... just stop it. That's a ridiculous statement.

Money problems: The AD pretty much squashed the beef with Cheeks and made him realize that this hire had to be a homerun to get the turnstyles moving again. When the hill is packed with 110,000, money is no longer a problem.

The program is in a rough spot, I agree, but what do you want them to do? Stay with Dooley and just give up? Heck why don't we all just go buy an Alabama hat. Good grief.

SummerfieldVol writes:

If Tennessee has offered and Jon has excepted their offer of X.X million. He or UT has no reason to keep it a secret,he is not coaching a bowl team or any of the usual excuses for not saying they are going to UT. I think you people who know the $ amount amd that he is coming are just throwing garbage out for the fun of it. Unless you are Dave Hart you have no ideal or knowledge as to what is going on as far as hiring a coach yesterday, today or tomorrow. If Tennessee already had Jon committed to UT, Arkansas would probably would know about it or Jon would not talk to them about their offer. To many unknows going on here.

djohnnyg writes:

Gruden LOVES messing with people.

He doesn't do stuff just to do it, that's why he doesn't deny he's coming to Tennessee. He just lets people speculate and he loves it.

Whether he takes the Ark job or not, i'm sure he wore that "Arkansas red" tie last night KNOWING full well it would fuel more speculation by over zealous fans looking for "clues". He knows people are trying to de-code everything he says and does looking for an indication of where he might be headed..if anywhere.

He is well aware of all the rumors and he is eating it up.

If he wasn't, he would come out and deny all the rumors.

He's become a marketing genius.

"The wrinkles in his forehead are forming a T...he's coming".

volpreacher writes:

in response to dontdroptheVOL:

Personaly never been much on the Gruden bandwagon how ever he may be a good first year recruiter if he is hired simply because his name after that it would be based on his production as a head coach. Bottom line if Tennessee ask him he will put the price on the table. Tenn then will have to met it. Gruden's record is 95-81

You people who keep talking about Gruden's pro record makes me laugh. If that were the criteria we wouldn't even hire Saban, he wasn't successful in pros. We wouldn't hire Spurrier, ditto. Gruden is the best choice. Now whether he comes or not, it is to be determined. I do know from sources of mine which I can't name but they are tied to past UT coaches, that Gruden is one of the sharpest football minds in the game.

smokysbark writes:

in response to volpreacher:

You people who keep talking about Gruden's pro record makes me laugh. If that were the criteria we wouldn't even hire Saban, he wasn't successful in pros. We wouldn't hire Spurrier, ditto. Gruden is the best choice. Now whether he comes or not, it is to be determined. I do know from sources of mine which I can't name but they are tied to past UT coaches, that Gruden is one of the sharpest football minds in the game.

Thank you sir! I refrained from posting on all of the "Gruden wasn't successful in the NFL" posts because I was afraid I couldn't contain my foul mouth.

volpreacher writes:

in response to govolsn3:

If GRUDEN does take the job, how long is he going to get to win a national championship 1 or 2 years. Just saying, that is what most VOLS fans expect is going to happen and it just insn't going to. No matter who takes the job the very best is 4-5 years to get a SEC championship and that is only if the next coach can recruit. GRUDEN is a big name but can he go into a kids house and convince mom and dad he will be there to take care of their kids. If GRUDEN was to turn around a win or play for a national championship, he would bolt for a huge pro contract the following year. Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me for him to be interested in UT. GO VOLS>>>VFL

This is my one draw back on Gruden. He is a 4 year fix at best. He will be successful at UT and he won't be here long. But having said that, maybe in 4 years Peyton will be ready to coach. One could only hope.

OwensboroVol writes:

I still say buy Petrino a house (for family) and a apartment (for girlfriend) and lets get rolling. This guy is a proven winner at the College level. College is a world of difference than Pro Ball. I have to admit that when you consider everything, I would much rather be a Pro Coach where you don't have to recruit or dry the snot from their noses everytime they get dumped by their girlfriends. That said, there are a lot of coaches who are extremely good at doing the things that College coaching require. Bobby Petrino is one of them. No one will know about Jon Gruden until he actually does it. Can we take the chance that he will be good at it?

copia69296 writes:

in response to jjsteel:

Cindy wants to be near her family.
She is telling Jon "Do what you think is best".
Which means "I want to be back home"(Tennessee)
Jon knows whats best. (Keep Cindy happy)

Cindy and Jon can move to Tennessee now and not work for UT.

Keeping Cindy happy may require more $$$$ than UT wants to pay.

Just curious... where is the article or interview where Gruden said he wanted to leave and coach college football?

UT fans are setting themselves up to be disappointed if anybody but Gruden is hired.

djohnnyg writes:

The people here who claim they "have heard from a reliable source" that Gruden is coming, and the terms of the contract, are not giving any clues as to where they are hearing this from.

I've heard alot of buzz about this myself, but it could just be a bunch of phooey...guys doing this for fun.

The speculation IS fun, but in all seriousness THIS HIRE is absolutely critical for UT going forward.

If Hart brings in some guy from Toledo or something there will be ALOT of very disgruntled fans, students and Alumni.

He'd better get this right and I believe it NEEDS to be a big splash.

"Saban like".

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to pcorange:

I think the fans who believe any coach, no matter how good, is going to take this team to the national championship in his second year are delusional. I do, however, think that Jon Gruden would have us relevant in 2 years. I think losing seasons would be a thing of the past. I think we would be able compete and win in the SEC again. I think another national title run would be a while in the making, but that's okay. Just get us off the bottom of the barrel and then we can worry about working our way up. Getting some solid wins and bringing in a little excitement will get the attention of the better recruits and we can start to build another great team. I really hope Gruden gets a shot at the job and takes it. I also hope that our administration is smart enough not to break the bank on him since there are still some questions as to just how good he will be as a college coach.

It does not take as long as you think. Just look what Brian Kelly has done at Notre Dame in just three years. With a very good coach and staff you can improve in a short time. I don't think Jon is the man for the job.

volpreacher writes:

in response to CrankE:

If Arky takes him, then good for them and good for UT. The media spotlight-such as it is will not be on UT and Hart and company can work on getting the RIGHT guy. (Which may not be the flashiest, splashiest $60M guy.)

I have a feeling that hiring Gruden would be just one more "sugar rush" of magic dust that would cost more than Tennessee could pay, provide us only a temporary high-and escape from our problems, and a nice soft descent back to where we are now (or worse).

Find the right guy and strike a deal with him. Backload the contract with performance incentives. You defeat archrivals? Bonus. You finish in the top ten? Bonus. You get to SEC Championship? Bonus. You fill up Neyland Stadium with Big Orange (not an archrival's color)? Bonus. By contrast, it seems that the single biggest financial incentive in Dooley's contract was the buyout that awaited him if he failed to do what he was hired to do. Seems to me he'll make more money not coaching than he did while he was coaching.

I agree with getting the right hire. I agree even more with an incentive based contract, with the buyout being prorated on performance also. This guaranteed buyout money is for established coaches you can't afford to lose.

takespix writes:

in response to pcorange:

Coaches are constantly being fired in the NFL. In most cases, they will be employed as a coach again. It doesn't mean that they were a bad coach. It just means that the results didn't come. Unfortunately, more so than in college, NFL coaches seem to have very little say in their roster as the salary cap, free agency, and accountants in the front office have a big say in who plays for you. The guy has won a Super Bowl, for heaven's sake. He's not a bad coach. Before you say "He did it with Dungy's players", consider first that the coach doesn't have a whole lot to do with who the players are, and second that even if he did, then the argument could be made that Oakland went to the Super Bowl with Gruden's players.

Coaches are constantly getting fired for consecutive losing seasons including losing the last four games of the year to fall out of the playoffs. Not to mention players challenging his authority on the sidelines.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features