The Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic will be highlighted by an appearance from Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden, one of three coaches with NFL head coaching experience who will be featured at the clinic, set for April 7 and 8 in Lincoln.
Gruden’s appearance as the featured speaker will mark the second consecutive year a Super Bowl Champion coach will serve as the featured speaker at the Spring Coaches Clinic. In 2005, Dick Vermeil, then the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs came to Lincoln as the featured speaker at the event.
In addition to Gruden, Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan and his entire staff will provide instruction at the clinic, while former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Frank Gansz will also be a featured speaker on the second day of the clinic. In addition, the Nebraska Spring Coaches clinic will feature former Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride as this year’s “Nebraska Legends” speaker. High school head coaches Jerry Ralph (St. Augustine High School, San Diego) and Mark King (Lincoln Southwest) are also on the clinic agenda as speakers.
Gruden recently completed his fourth season as the head coach of the Buccaneers and his eighth season as an NFL head coach. Gruden has compiled a 38-30 record with Tampa Bay, including an 11-5 record and NFC South Division title in 2005. In his first year with the Bucs in 2002, Gruden guided Tampa Bay to a 12-4 regular-season mark on its way to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory over Callahan’s Oakland Raider team.
One of only eight active coaches with a Super Bowl title to his credit, the 42-year-old Gruden is one of just three NFL coaches since 1966 to win 40 games before their 40th birthday. He is also just the third head coach in NFL history to lead a different franchise to playoff appearances in consecutive seasons, joining Mike Holmgren and Tony Dungy.
Gruden has a long relationship with Callahan, who succeeded Gruden as the Raiders’ head coach in 2002. The two worked together for three seasons (1995-97) on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, before Gruden was named head coach of the Raiders before the 1998 season. Callahan served as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator for each of Gruden’s four seasons with the franchise. During the four seasons they spent together in Oakland, the Raiders compiled a 40-28 record, including AFC West titles in 2000 and 2001.
“It is a great honor to have Jon Gruden included in the tradition of the Nebraska Coaches Clinic,” Callahan said. “Jon is truly one of the most knowledgeable and dynamic head coaches in the National Football League. I know that he will provide the coaches with great insight and information about modern football.”
Gansz was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987 and 1988, and was also a long-time NFL assistant coach. In addition to his time as head coach, Gansz is also widely recognized as one of the best and most influential special teams coaches in NFL history. Gansz capped his career as the special teams coach of the St. Louis Rams, serving on Vermeil’s staff and helping the Rams to a Super Bowl title in 1999.
McBride served as an assistant coach at Nebraska for 23 seasons from 1977 to 1999, including the final 18 seasons as the Huskers’ defensive coordinator. McBride’s Blackshirt defenses ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense 11 times, including leading the nation in 1984 and ranking fourth in his final season in 1999. This marks the second year the Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic has featured a “Legends Speaker” as former offensive line coach Milt Tenopir spoke at last year’s event.
After a welcome from Coach Callahan on Friday morning, two outstanding high school coaches will be next up on the clinic agenda. King has built an outstanding program at Lincoln Southwest High School, guiding the Silver Hawks to the Class A state title game in 2005, in just the school’s fourth year. King previously had successful coaching stints at Lincoln Northeast and Ord before taking over at Southwest.
Ralph is the head coach at San Diego’s St. Augustine High School, which captured the CIF Division III title in 2005. Ralph is in his sixth season as the Saints’ head coach and among the top players his program has produced are Nebraska place-kicker Jordan Congdon and 2006 Husker signee Menelik Holt.
In addition to top-notch instruction from standout coaches from several levels, coaches in attendance at the clinic will have the opportunity to attend closed Nebraska practices on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. Gruden will address the clinic attendees on Friday evening, before a Nebraska Coaches’ Chalk Talk caps the first day of the clinic. Saturday’s activities will begin with a FCA Breakfast in West Stadium, followed by position drills and Gansz’s presentation. The event will be capped by Nebraska’s Saturday afternoon practice.
All sessions of this year’s clinic will be held in Nebraska’s new Championship Indoor Center or Memorial Stadium. Cost of attending the clinic is $35 before April 3 and $45 after April 3. For more information, please contact the Nebraska football office at (402) 472-3116 or visit Huskers.com and CoachCallahan.com. A full schedule of events is available on both web sites and registration for the Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic is available on-line.