Following speculation that he was accepting of a deal to become the next head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Jon Gruden issued a statement Sunday night saying that he was not going anywhere and will remain with the ESPN Monday Night Football staff.
“I am committed to Monday Night Football and to ESPN,” Gruden said in a statement. “I enjoy working with Mike [Tirico], Jaws [Ron Jaworski] and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job.”
Word started getting around on Sunday that Gruden had accepted a $3.4 million contract offer by the University of Miami to become the next head coach after the school fired Randy Shannon. This hiring would have come a day after the firing, which seemed to be a little too quick to be accurate. Lake Lewis of Sports Journey Radio and a reporter covering the Washington Redskins got the word buzzing by citing a “credible source” that Gruden would join Miami via Twitter. From there the story was picked up by SB Nation and National Football Post but no official word has come out of the University of Miami at this point.
Late Sunday night Peter King of Sports Illustrated sent out a pretty straight forward tweet to his followers. “Jon Gruden is not going to the University of Miami. Period,” King tweeted. A statement from Gruden was released shortly after that.
So if Gruden is out of the running, who will Miami look to as their next head coach? Rivals suggests that some of the names that will be mentioned include Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, and Florida International coach Mario Cristobal. Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is also a popular name being floated around for a number of attractive head coaching vacancies, including Miami.
One other popular name to consider is Georgia head coach Mark Richt, but Richt has already dismissed the idea of leaving Georgia.
“It’s like I’ve been saying: Georgia’s my home and that’s where I want to be,” Richt said. “I don’t think I’ve gotta go any farther than that.”
Richt played quarterback for Miami from 1979-1982 and while he spent most of his collegiate career backing up Jim Kelly, an injury to the future Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer thrust Richt in to the starting role for much of the 1982 season. Following his playing days Richt served four seasons as a graduate assistant for Florida State and later served ten years under Bobby Bowden as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Seminoles. To say that Richt understands the dynamics of Florida recruiting battles would be an understatement. Though most of his current roster is comprised of in-state recruits, Richt has 13 players from the state of Florida as well.
Richt was linked to rumors for the same position at Colorado a couple weeks ago when the school fired Dan Hawkins.
“I don’t think it’ll be a distraction because I have the same answer for that as I had for the other one,” he said. “Georgia’s my home and it’s where I wanna finish my career.”