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UM Targets Gruden

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MIAMI (CBS4) – ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said he fully expects former Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden to stay with the network despite a meeting with University of Miami Hurricane’s athletic director Kirby Hocutt Wednesday.

Hocutt is trying to gauge the interest Gruden may have for the Hurricanes head coaching position. Gruden is obviously Miami’s top choice as he would bring instant credibility to a football program that is on the verge of either rising again to a national power, or simply becoming a regional interest school.

CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald said trustees have told the newspaper that no contract details have been discussed, but a plan is being formulated for 2011 ticket sales if Gruden were to accept the job.

Still, Gruden has never been a head coach in Division I (FBS) history. He’s never even been an assistant coach (his highest position at a major school was wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh).

Most NFL writers believe that Gruden is doing his due diligence by listening to what the Canes have to offer, but in the end, when he comes back, it will be to the NFL.

There are likely to be several good NFL jobs come open in the next year. The Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, and others could be in the market for a new coach at the end of the year.

Gruden faces the choice of total control of an NFL team, or total control of a college program, should he be offered the UM job.

But, UM is developing backup plans should Gruden simply be using UM to increase the pressure on NFL owners who may be inclined to hire him. UM is reportedly interested in Dan Mullen of Mississippi State, Jim Harbaugh of Stanford, Kyle Whittingham of Utah, and Mike Stoops at Arizona.

Harbaugh is unlikely to leave Stanford, though he’d be the best coach of the group.

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