Photo by Paul Flessland
Jon Gruden’s history with NDSU extends further than meeting Carson Wentz last season. Back in the early 2000s, he plucked several coaches from the Bison staff. It was coaching that brought the Super Bowl XXXVII-winning coach back to Fargo in April.
Nearly 700 high school and college football coaches joined a handful of Bison fans during the Friday night session of the NDSU Coaches Clinic to hear Gruden talk about his philosophies. He was also here to gawk at the NDSU football machine and see firsthand how the Bison sustain success.
Jon Gruden started his trip to Fargo with a tour of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex and then met with the media. He began with a story of how he hired two North Dakota State assistants when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2006, Gruden hired Casey “Gus” Bradley. The following year, he welcomed Todd Wash to Tampa Bay.
“When I met Gus, I couldn’t tell you how sharp he was, his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game,” Gruden gushed. “We had to have Gus.”
He Was In Fargo For Support
Gruden doesn’t end up in Fargo without Carson Wentz. When Gruden was preparing to have Wentz on his QB Camp show on ESPN, he said he watched a lot of film on NDSU’s offense. Gruden said he didn’t just like the offense Wentz was running. He loved it.
“I really want to compliment them,” Gruden said of the NDSU coaches. “A lot of coaches nowadays, they don’t get a lot of pats on the back, but I’m here from Tampa, Florida, to support the Bison, to tell them what I think of their program. And if I can encourage a couple of their players or coaches just to keep grinding, that’s why I’m here.”
Gruden Was Also Here to Speak on Behalf of the FFCA
“The FFCA,” began Gruden. “We’re trying to raise money and raise awareness that our game is struggling a little bit. Some people are taking some shots at it. We’re trying to keep the game strong, encouraging kids to play.
“What I got from football were the best lessons I could get in life. I learned work ethic and mental toughness, dedication and sportsmanship. I don’t want us to lose this game.”
What is the FFCA?
According to Jon Gruden’s Fired Football Coaches Association, the FFCA is dedicated to “giving back to the game of football, with a specific emphasis on high school athletic programs.