Jay Gruden hired by Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have hired Jay Gruden as their new offensive coordinator succeeding Bob Bratkowski, who was fired earlier this week.
Gruden, 43, coached for seven seasons (2002-08) in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning a Super Bowl championship ring in 2002. He also ranks among the most outstanding players and coaches in the history of the Arena Football League, having won four league championships as a quarterback and two as a head coach. In 18 AFL seasons as a player and head coach, he never missed the playoffs.
“We are excited to have Jay join us and give us a new direction offensively,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “He has proven himself a consistent winner in a variety of positions and has earned tremendous respect in the coaching profession. He’s going to provide the energy and attacking style that will best suit our offensive skill players and quarterback.”
“This is something I wanted to get right, to take the time to make the best decision,” Lewis said, “and I appreciate the support I got from (Bengals president) Mike Brown in the process. The offense is where we need to show improvement, and when we do, we’ll show that this team is ready to win the division again like we did just a year ago. Our defense is strong and still improving, and one thing we did in 2010 was to develop a number of very promising new players. Jay is a key addition to this process.”
In 2010, Gruden was head coach and general manager of the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League. He led the Tuskers to the UFL championship game, where they lost to Las Vegas. In accepting his new position with the Bengals, he resigns as head coach of the UFL’s new Virginia franchise. He had been hired to that job this past Jan. 12, after the Tuskers ceased operations.
Gruden was in Cincinnati on Tuesday and Wednesday, and returned late Wednesday to Orlando, Fla. He will be back in Cincinnati next week.
“I expect great things with the Bengals,” Gruden said. “I intend on bringing a great attitude and work ethic. We’ll build off the strength this offense has developed and add a system to challenge everyone in the building. I thank Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown for this opportunity, and I look forward to working with a great offensive staff.”
Gruden is the younger brother of Jon Gruden, the former NFL head coach with Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Born in Tiffin, Ohio, Jay Gruden played four seasons at QB for the University of Louisville (1985-88), including three years as the starter. He was a two-time team MVP and ranks fourth in Cardinals history in completions (572), passing yards (7024) and touchdown passes (44). He played QB in the Arena League for six seasons (1991-96) with the Tampa Bay Storm, winning four AFL titles and posting numbers as the league’s all-time leading passer.
He was head coach for the AFL’s Orlando Predators for nine seasons (1998-2001 and 2004-08). He led the team to four championship game appearances, with two league titles, while compiling an 93-61 record (.604 winning percentage). During his two-year hiatus from coaching the Predators, in 2002-03, he returned to the playing field as Orlando’s QB, leading two playoff seasons.
In 2002, Gruden accepted a position as an offensive assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking on a dual role as he also continued his AFL exploits during NFL offseasons. He worked for seven seasons (2002-08) under his brother Jon, who was Bucs head coach. He contributed to three divisional championship seasons, including the 2002 campaign that saw the Bucs defeat Oakland 48-21 for a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
In 2009, Gruden was offensive coordinator for the UFL Tuskers, helping them to an unbeaten regular season with a league-best 30.5 scoring average.