Jon Gruden is the only NFL coach to lead his team to division titles both of the last two years.
Jon Gruden, whose limitless passion and relentless work ethic guided the Oakland Raiders to division titles in each of his final two seasons, was named the seventh head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history on February 18, 2002.
Gruden, the NFL’s youngest head coach at 38, steered the Raiders to a 38-26 regular season mark in his four seasons (1998-2001) with the club, including postseason appearances in 2000 and 2001. Under Gruden, the Raiders advanced to the AFC title game in 2000 and lost this year in a second round playoff game to eventual Super Bowl champion New England. Gruden’s offenses have finished among the league’s Top 10 in each of the last three seasons, including fifth in 1999.
The 2001 Raiders ranked seventh in the NFL total offense, including fourth in passing offense, on their way to a second consecutive division title. Oakland won its first back-to-back AFC West crowns since 1982-83. The Raiders also ranked first in the AFC in red zone touchdown percentage and Pro Bowl QB Rich Gannon was the conference leader in passing, throwing for 3,828 yards and a completion percentage of 65.8. Over the past three seasons under Gruden, Gannon has totaled 949 completions on 1537 attempts (61.7%) for 11,098 yards with 79 touchdowns and just 34 interceptions.
Five Raiders were named to the 2002 Pro Bowl squad, including WR Tim Brown, who made his ninth trip to Hawaii this past season. CB Charles Woodson made his fourth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl, while Gannon, who led the AFC with a 95.5 QB rating, headed to Hawaii for the third straight season. Gannon was named the game’s MVP in each of the last two contests.
The Raiders ranked among the NFL’s elite in offense, defense and special teams under Gruden’s leadership in 2000, advancing to the AFC Championship Game. The offense led the league in rushing at nearly 155 yards per game and ranked third in the NFL in scoring at almost 30 points per game. Oakland’s 58 touchdowns were tied for the second-most in the league. The Raiders ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing defense (96.9 rushing yards allowed) and fourth in the AFC (seventh in NFL) in takeaways with 37. The Raiders led the NFL in touchbacks (15) and in net punting average (38.0). Gruden and his staff also coached the victorious AFC squad in the most recent Pro Bowl.
In 1999, Gruden led the Raiders to an 8-8 record despite facing the toughest schedule of any NFL team. The Raiders ranked third in rushing yards and fifth in total offense in 1999. In 1998, his first year as the Raiders’ Head Coach, Gruden led the Silver and Black to a four-game improvement over the previous year, going 8-8. The defense finished fifth in the NFL in 1998 in Gruden’s first year as head coach of the Raiders. Gruden inherited a Raiders team that had not posted a winning season since 1994, but quickly returned Oakland to the postseason.
Gruden spent the previous three seasons (1995-97) before arriving in Oakland as offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. As a seven-year NFL assistant, Gruden saw his teams qualify for the playoffs five times. He also coached five seasons at the collegiate level.
Gruden was the NFL's youngest offensive coordinator at age 31 when Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes hired him in 1995. The Eagles had a 26-21-1 record during his tour of duty, including playoff appearances after both the 1995 and 1996 campaigns in the highly competitive NFC Eastern Division.
In 1997, the Eagles ranked second in passing, fifth in rushing and third in total offense in the NFC. In 1996, they led the NFC in passing, were second in rushing and led the conference in total offense. In Gruden's first season as an NFL offensive coordinator in 1995, the Eagles finished fourth in the entire league in rushing.
Gruden was the third-youngest head coach in the 40-year history of the Oakland franchise. Raiders owner Al Davis was 33 when he was named head coach and general manager of the Silver and Black in 1963. John Madden was 32 when he was promoted to the head post in 1969.
Before joining Philadelphia, Gruden worked for three seasons with the Green Bay Packers from 1992-94. He served as an offensive assistant to Packers head coach Mike Holmgren in 1992, then spent the 1993 and 1994 seasons as Green Bay's receivers coach.
The Packers were 27-21 for those three seasons and were in the playoffs in two of those years. Gruden spent the 1991 football season in the college ranks as wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh under head coach Paul Hackett.
Gruden was an offensive assistant to head coach George Seifert with the San Francisco 49ers in 1990, working closely with offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren. The 49ers were an NFL-best 14-2, finally losing in the NFC Championship Game.
In his first four seasons in the coaching profession from 1986-1989, Gruden was an assistant at the University of Tennessee in 1986 and 1987 as the Volunteers totaled 17-7-1 and won against Big Ten opponents in the Liberty Bowl and Peach Bowl. In 1988, he was passing game coordinator at Southeast Missouri State and in 1989 coached wide receivers at the University of Pacific.
Born August 17, 1963 in Sandusky, Ohio, Gruden attended South Bend Clay High School in Indiana and was a three-year letterman at quarterback at the University of Dayton, graduating in 1985 with a degree in Communications. The Flyers had a 24-7 record in Gruden's three varsity seasons there. Gruden and his wife Cindy, a former University of Tennessee cheerleader, have three sons, Jon II, Michael and Jayson.
Gruden's father, Jim, is a regional scout for the San Francisco 49ers and formerly served as running backs coach (1982-83) and director of player personnel (1984-86) for the Buccaneers. Jim and his wife, Kathy, still reside in Tampa.
His brother, Jay, played in the Arena Football League, winning four championships in six seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm. Jay is now the youngest head coach in that league with the Orlando Predators, winners of the Arena League title in 1998, runner-ups in 1999 and winners of the title again in 2000. Jay played quarterback at Tampa’s Chamberlain High School before heading to Louisville to play for head coach Howard Schnellenberger. Jay's wife, Sherry, worked in the Buccaneers' marketing department from 1993-96.