Cindy Gruden

Cindy Gruden is publicly known for the being the wife of legendary football coach, Jon Gruden. Jon is currently the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League.

Background and Cheerleading Career

Cindy Gruden was born in her hometown of Tennessee and she attended the University of Tennessee, located in the city of Knoxville. During her college years, she was All-American Collegiate Cheerleader. She had four amazing years and loved every moment that she spent there.  She pursued a college degree in Classical Piano and Music Education. She also got her graduate degree in Educational Administration.  Just like her husband, the passion of Cindy is found in sports and the education.

Cindy Gruden was a Volunteer cheerleader and she has ties with the Tennessee college programs. Her husband, Jon Gruden started his coaching career with Tennessee Volunteers football program. The beginning of his coaching journey was launched when he was an assistant coach under legendary coach, Johnny Majors in 1986. Cindy was a cheerleader for the Tennessee Volunteers when she met Jon.  Throughout his tenure as an assistant, Jon Gruden was mentioned to be a possible successor for the heading coaching job. The Tennessee sports journalists really liked his potential and felt that he would do well if he was leading the team.

Husband’s Legendary Coaching Career

Cindy Gruden loves being the wife of a hall of fame coach. When Jon was the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he led them to a Super Bowl Championship. After he retired from his coaching post, he went on to become a color commentator for NFL games. The league really valued his insight and felt that he would be perfect in a role where he could relay game information to casual fans. People around the league respected him because of his hard work and creative strategies. Fans of the sport respected him because he had a great record and winning pedigree.

After meeting her husband, they fell in love but they had to wait for four years before they can get married because they did not have enough money and both were trying to pursuing their dreams.

In an interview the San Francisco Gate, Cindy described how much she appreciated Jon for expressing his love to her and asking for her hand in marriage even when he did not have any money, “I'm sure he did. With us we always talked about being together. I know we decided to go out and get a ring one night after a game in San Francisco. I flew out to see him, and we decided to get the ring. We didn't even check out the jeweler. It must have been in Palo Alto. Bless his heart, he paid $1,800 for that ring -- in cash. That was all he had, and he gave it to me. He had a metal desk sitting on big cement blocks and the TV was on the ironing board. Oh the lifestyles of the rich and famous.”


As an attractive cheerleader that was being courted by many guys in college, Cindy was asked to explain why she chose Jon. She was not a fortune teller and had no idea that he was going to become a hugely successful football coach. But there was just something about him that drew her to him, “He was a gofer. I know I was amazed at all the parking tickets he had at Tennessee. The coaches would send him down to The Strip (Knoxville's main drag) to get something to eat for everybody, and of course parking was just terrible, so he'd just get a place and get a ticket. I don't know if he ever paid all those tickets. He used to try to impress me with that 'X-Y jet scramble' football talk. You know how he is. He is so full of bull. He just loves to spin a story. I always knew he was headed somewhere. He worked so hard. He had his act together, which was rare at that early age."

It was the one trait that Jon would use in his football career that also attracted Cindy to him. He was a responsible man that had a plan and nothing was going to stop him.

Building Community

Even though her husband casts a large shadow, Cindy also had spotlight on her own right since she was always the star in her domain when she was an excellent cheerleader and graduate student.  Cindy was always there to support other women but also carried herself well as the wife of a famous football coach. She has had a successful career with a nice salary and she likes to give back to the community.

Cindy likes to speak at charity events where she is able to represent her husband when he doesn’t want to give a speech. She enjoys speaking to the girlfriends and wives of the players of her husband’s team because she thinks building a community beyond the football field is extremely important. Cindy once said that she really enjoyed the time they spent with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Even when she wasn’t close to all the player or even when was not aware of some players, she always knew their girlfriends and wives.  There is nothing like the worry of losing or the euphoria of winning. The rise and fall of emotions during sports is something that binds the people together as glue and she considered all the girls to be like her extended family.   Cindy emphasize the importance of taking care of herself and she set a good example for every woman that she was involved with during her husband’s coaching career. She was always in control of her health and well being in whatever situation she was in.

Teaching Career

Cindy Gruden became the head instructor for the National Cheerleader Association. She taught at High School Camps and became a high school instructor with the Collegiate Cheerleaders. Wherever she had to locate because of her husband’s career, she continued to maintain her physique with a good physical regime. Her commitment to fitness included teaching aerobics for over 20 years.

Last Modified: Mar 14, 2020

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