Jon Gruden plays Santa for four California high school programs
For Foothill High School (Pleasanton, Calif.) High School head coach Matt Sweeney, the voice mail on his phone was almost too good to be true. It was Jon Gruden, and he wanted Sweeney to call him back.
"Right," Sweeney said. "Jon Gruden wants to talk to me."
This time, too good to be true actually ended up being true.
While on the road each week for Monday Night Football, Gruden uses his Fired Football Coaches Association charity to honor four local high schools and give each of them a $1,000 donation and a GoPro camera.
In town for the 49ers-Falcons game on Monday night, Gruden chose Foothill, Lincoln (San Francisco) High School, Campolindo (Moraga) High School and McClymonds (Oakland) High School. On Saturday night, the four head coaches and 70 or so of their closest friends gathered at a nearby Hooters to pass out tidings of good cheer.
"Right before Christmas, Santa was able to deliver a little gift to these guys and their high school programs and I'm really proud of that," said Gruden. "If I've done anything right this year, it's been to reconnect with the high school coaches throughout the country."
"He's just an unbelievable real guy," said Sweeney. "What you see on Monday night is how he is 24-7. He just walked around and we talked football, other random things, took pictures, laughed a lot. It was a great night."
Added Lincoln coach Phil Ferrigno: "It was a once in a lifetime opportunity just to meet the man and the other coaches and talk football."