NFL.com blog: Gruden top U of L target

Michael Lombardi is an NFL Network commentator who also has done some work with CBS. He also has written for SI.com, and writes the Diner and Tavern columns for the NFL Post.

And NFL.com says he has sources telling him that Monday Night Football analyst and former Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden will be pegged as the University of Louisville’s No. 1 candidate should the decision be made to let head coach Steve Kragthorpe go.

[Read it for yourself right here.]

UPDATE: Lombardi is identifying his sources as coming from inside the University of Louisville. Here’s the post at NationalFootballPost.com.

It’s a rumor that has been gaining strength for a couple of weeks, but Lombardi is the first media member to put his name behind it as having legs. (I can say that no source employed by U of L has confirmed this to me.)

We’ll see.

I made the statement two Saturdays ago that Gruden will never be the coach at Louisville, breaking one of the first rules of journalism prognostication — never say never.

I still believe that. He has a good job now, has limited background in college coaching — compard with his NFL experience — and will have multiple chances to return to the NFL should he want to. Last weekend, rumors started circulating that U of L would offer him $3.6 million. If that’s true, it’s ludicrous. For a school whose football program has revenues in the ballpark of $20 million, to pay the head coach alone nearly 20 percent of that doesn’t make sense.

Still, if there’s an athletic director out there who could pull something like this off, it would be Tom Jurich.

And on the topic of where the money would come from, think about this: If the current (or next) coach doesn’t inspire suite or seat sales in the expanded stadium, U of L will be, in essence, out that money anyway in terms of lost revenue. Might as well turn that money loose by way in investment in a big-time coach as let it go in the form of empty seats.

Another revenue stream that people aren’t talking a lot about is the basketball arena which is taking shape downtown. Given the number of suites, and the deal U of L has worked out for occupancy, I believe U of L will soon be generating revenue unheard of for a college basketball program.

Still, U of L faces this problem — no matter how much it can pay, NFL teams can pay a lot more. And if a bidding war were to ensue, U of L would not be able to compete. If it wants to go after Gruden, a college program might be well-served to do it sooner rather than later.

All of this, of course, is far premature. But Michael Lombardi and NFL.com have officially put it out there, so there you go.

One thought on this story, if it becomes more of a story. Gruden works for ESPN. I’d say they should have the inside track on it, if anyone does.

Thanks to reader James High for passing this along, and for following NFL blogs with a good eye!

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25 thoughts on “NFL.com blog: Gruden top U of L target

  1. Anyone that thinks that Gruden would even think about coming to UL is a f*cking idiot – plain and simple. Why would Gruden come to a bottom tier team in teh worst BCS conference in America. The guy could have any of the jobs that opens up, and to think he would choose UL is plain assinine, period.

  2. well I wouldn't go as far as that first dude. But if NFL.com is reporting it then there must be at least something to it. Really makes you wonder how much these message board guys got it right.

  3. As a cat fan, I would love to see Gruden at U of L. He would turn up the rivalry game quite a bit. If U of L gets Gruden, we might be in trouble though.

  4. I hope to God Gruden comes here. I think it's a loooong shot but if we were to land this guy look out! He is definately a better coach than Petrino and well Krags….nevermind. I don't know of 20,000 extra fans that will even bother if we don't get a big fish in here.

  5. Come on Tom, pull the trigger! You should have done it when we lost to Rutgers. It wasn't the loss but the way we got totally embarrassed when we were still playing for bowl eligibility not to mention the integrity of the seniors. Kraggy never had that team ready and should have been fired when it was 49-0 at halftime. Please for the sake of all UofL fans far and wide put your friendship aside. The guy just didn't work out and I know you are working on correcting the problem as we speak.

  6. Why wouldn't Gruden come here? Great town, great facilities, great fan support, excellent conference. Best AD in the country.The UL job is a goldmine for the right guy.Everybody always sells this town and university short.Wake up, we have it made here. This town is a hidden treasure, and we should feel good about it instead of letting naysayers talk trash.

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