March 28, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Former Super Bowl champion head coach Jon Gruden, who started his coaching career at the University of Tennessee as a graduate assistant from 1986-87, will be a featured speaker at the 2012 Tennessee Football Coaching Clinic, which runs from April 12-14.
Currently serving as an analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football, Gruden spent 11 years as a head coach in the NFL, serving stints with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-08).
Gruden, who led the two teams to a combined total of five divisional titles and five playoff appearances, reached the pinnacle of his profession in 2002, when he guided the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory.
The clinic kicks off Thursday night where participants will have "chalk talks" in their individual breakout sessions with each member of the Tennessee coaching staff. After opening up with a Tennessee football practice on Friday morning, the three-day workshop continues Friday afternoon with a diverse lineup of speakers, including Head Coach Derek Dooley and Tennessee assistants.
Mike Ayers, head coach at Division I FCS Wofford College, will address clinic attendees on Friday, and there will also be two sessions including high school coaches, one featuring two coaches from Tennessee and the other with two out-of-state coaches. Ayers, who is entering his 24th season as the head coach at Wofford, has been named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year five times.
During the first high school session, Christian Academy of Knoxville head coach Rusty Bradley and Whitehaven High School head coach Rodney Saulsberry will present. In 2011, both Bradley and Saulsberry led their teams to the Tennessee state championship game in their divisions. Christian Academy of Knoxville won their first state championship in school history.
During the second session, those attending the clinic will hear presentations from Byrnes High School (S.C.) head coach Chris Miller and Buford High School (Ga.) head coach Jess Simpson. Miller led the Rebels to back-to-back state championship titles (2010 and 2011) in the South Carolina. Simpson, who became head coach of the Buford Wolves in 2005, has an overall record of 84-2 as head coach. In 2010 the Wolves tied the Georgia High School record of four consecutive state championships.
On Saturday, Tennessee head football strength coach Ron McKeefery will address the group regarding the Vols' off-season program, while presentations from TSSAA regarding rules as well as from the Tennessee compliance office regarding new high school eligibility standards are also on the schedule. Tennessee coaches can receive their annual credit for attending rules education through the TSSAA presentation.
Admission is $50, and online registration at tennesseesportscamps.com is strongly suggested. Payments can also be mailed and must be received by April 2. Walk-up registration will be available during the clinic at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. For a brochure or more information, call 865-974-1248 or visit tennesseesportscamps.com.