At a press conference today at Rosen Shingle Creek, UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue announced Jay Gruden as Head Coach of the Florida Tuskers. Gruden previously served as Offensive Coordinator for the Tuskers. The Tuskers finished the season with a 6-1 record and an appearance in the UFL’s Championship Game.
“Jay Gruden was the natural choice as the next head coach of the Florida Tuskers,” said Commissioner Huyghue. “Under Coach Gruden’s guidance, the Tuskers’ offense led the League in all categories and helped secure the team a spot in the Championship Game mid-way through the season. Coach Gruden’s recent success on the field, coupled with his local appeal, bodes well for this Florida franchise moving forward.”
“I am honored to take on the role of Head Coach of the Florida Tuskers and grateful to the UFL for this opportunity,” said Coach Gruden. “Our first season was a great success. Coach Haslett created a solid foundation that the team can continue to build upon. I am proud of the way Orlando has embraced the Tuskers’ dedicated players and coaches and I am excited to get to work preparing for season two.”
The Florida Tuskers was the dominant team of the UFL’s “Premiere” season under the leadership of Gruden and former Head Coach Jim Haslett, who was recently named Defensive Coordinator for the Washington Redskins. In Gruden’s first season with Florida, his potent offense propelled the Tuskers to an undefeated regular season (6-0) and a spot in the Championship Game. Under Gruden’s guidance, QB Brooks Bollinger led the league in passing yards (1,825), touchdowns (16) and earned the title of UFL Player of the Year.
Prior to coaching in the UFL, Gruden spent 17 seasons in the Arena Football League, acquiring six Championship titles and consistently rewriting the league’s history books. As starting quarterback in Tampa Bay, Gruden led the Storm to an unprecedented four ArenaBowl titles in six seasons. During his playing career, Gruden racked up two All-Arena selections and grabbed the 1992 MVP honors.
As head coach of the Orlando Predators (1998-2001, 2004-200
, Gruden led his team to four ArenaBowl appearances with two championships and ranks sixth overall in AFL wins with a 82-54 regular-season record. As a head coach, he is 93-61-0 and ranks in the top 10 overall in coaching wins and winning percentage. He is one of only five AFL coaches with two or more ArenaBowl championships. As a quarterback, he ranks in the top ten with more than 20,000 passing yards and close to 400 touchdowns.
Gruden’s success as a coach is not confined to Arena Football. For seven seasons, he served as an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL. In that capacity, Gruden earned his seventh professional championship ring when the Bucs won the 2002 Super Bowl.