Jon Gruden began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee in 1986. For two seasons, he worked under legendary head coach Johnny Majors.
Majors passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85. Since news of his death, tributes have been pouring in from throughout the football world, including one from Gruden.
The Las Vegas Raiders head coach released a heartfelt statement this afternoon on the man who kick-started his career.
“Coach Majors had a huge impact on me personally and professionally,” Gruden said. “He gave me my first job and was responsible for teaching me what the game of football is really about. He taught life lessons that I still live by today as a husband, father and coach. He preached that loyalty and hard work are staples to your success. The amount of players he touched over several decades is endless. He was a heck of a football coach, a great competitor and embodied what Tennessee football is all about. We lost a great, great man and I will miss him dearly.”
Life lessons. Football lessons.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) June 3, 2020
When Tennessee was looking for a new head coach a couple of years ago, there were rumors Gruden was interested.
Ultimately, they didn’t come to fruition, and the 56-year-old coach stepped out of the ESPN booth and returned to the sidelines in the NFL after a 10-year hiatus.
In his two seasons back with the Raiders, Gruden is 11-21. This year is a pivotal one for him and the franchise as it begins its new era in Las Vegas.