September 16, 2003 - by
Celebrity Guest Columnist Jim Gladden

Celebrity Guest Columnist Jim Gladden

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Sept. 13, 2003

Jim Gladden knows Florida State University. He knows the FSU of the past, having coached football for the Seminoles for 27 years, and he knows the FSU of the present and future as a current member of Seminoles Boosters, Inc.

Gladden had the kind of coaching career that most coaches dream of. His resume includes 40 years of coaching, including 12 years at the high school level in Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida, and 28 years of coaching in the collegiate ranks.

Throughout his storied career, Gladden has had the opportunity to coach on FSU teams that have accomplished many things, including two national championships and nine conference championships while participating in 22 bowl games (6 Orange Bowls, 5 Sugar Bowls, 3 Fiesta Bowls, 3 Gator Bowls, 1 Cotton Bowl, 1 Blockbuster Bowl, 1 All American Bowl, 1 Citrus Bowl and 1 Tangerine Bowl). Teams that Gladden coached on had an unprecedented run of 14 straight finishes in the nation’s top 5. Gladden received the Western Kentucky Coach of the Year Award in 1970 and was honored for lifetime achievement in coaching in 2002 by the All-American Football Foundation.

To Be A Seminole

In 1975, I came to Florida State University as a part time coach. I had been a high school football coach, athletic director and dean; however, my career goal was to be a college football coach. So when this opportunity presented itself, my thought process was, “Go for it!”

I came here looking at Florida State as a stepping-stone and it turned out to be the very stepping-stone to a lifetime career that I couldn’t have drawn up any better. Twenty-nine years later, as I look back, it’s hard to believe how far this University and this program have come with two national championships, 10 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, the dynasty of 10 or more wins in 14 consecutive seasons, all the great New Year’s Day bowl games and the near completion of the University Center. With that being said, it’s not the brick and mortar that make this University or this program, it is the people that make “IT” and the countless number of great players and people whom I have had a chance to share a small part of their lives.

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the privilege of speaking to a former players reunion in Tampa. You could see “IT” there. To be with that group of former players who covered a time span from the late 50s through the mid-90s was extremely rewarding. To see how well our boys were doing was such a great experience for me and you could feel
“IT” there.

Wherever I go, I am asked about the great players that I had the opportunity to coach such as Derrick Brooks, Andre Wadsworth, Peter Boulware, Reinard Wilson, Jamal Reynolds of recent years; the Willie Jones and son Willie (current player), Brian
Williams (investment banker), Howard Dinkins (computer software engineer), the walk-ons who contributed greatly like Patrick Newton, Jarred Hetzel, Kendrick Scott, Dave Maglich, and Mike Barre; the brotherhood such as the Warren brothers, the McLean
brothers, the Merson brothers, the Holloman brothers, the Richardson brothers, the Ionota brothers, the Scott brothers, the Harp brothers, the Shiver brothers, the Rhodes brothers and the Darlings. They all had “IT.” They are all super stars in my eyes just like Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Jimmy J., Wally, Blair, Danny Mac, Danny K., Thad, Eric, P.T., Piurowski, Keith Jones, Monk, Reggie, Todd Rebol, Paul McGowan, Shade Tree, Odell, Eric Hayes, Cat, Deion, and Ta and the list goes on.

All those who walked through the Pensacola Street tunnel, to and from practice, and went through the off-season program, and 20 days of spring practice have “IT.” There’s a common thread that runs through them like the country music star John Anderson’s hit song “Seminole Wind.” That spirit… that kindred of heart pulling together… the us-we-our team attitude… the refusing to quit… the common ground of being in Tallahassee with a common goal. They all have “IT.” They are filled with this Garnet and Gold spirit. You can see “IT” in their eyes and you can feel “IT” from their hearts, and I, along with the rest of their coaches are proud of each and every one the young men who put on the Garnet and Gold. We are ALL proud to be called a Seminole!

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