July 8, 1999
It is a silver anniversary season for Jim Gladden on the Florida
State coaching staff as the 1999 season will mark his 25th with the
Seminoles. His tenure is longer even than head coach Bobby Bowden and the
second longest to Bob Harbison of any coach in FSU history. He was
elevated to a full-time coach by Bowden when he came to Tallahassee in 1976
after serving as a graduate assistant on the 1975 FSU team that finished
3-8 and was coached by Darrell Mudra. Gladden, Bowden and Florida State
have had 22 straight winning seasons and have set NCAA records for bowl
games won and consecutive top four finishes.
After coaching outside linebackers at FSU for 20 years, Gladden
moved to coaching the defensive ends in 1996. He made a smashing debut as
he guided pupils Reinard Wilson and Peter Boulware to All-America status in
1996. Wilson had 13.5 sacks in 1996 and was FSU’s leading tackler with 105.
He finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in sacks with 35.5
and was the 14th overall selection in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati
Bengals. Boulware set a school record for sacks in a season and led the
nation with 19. He was the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year, finished
with 34 sacks in his career and was the fourth pick in the NFL Draft by the
Baltimore Ravens. Boulware went on to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the
Year honors in 1997. Faced with losing two first team All-Americans two
years ago, all Gladden did in 1997 was coach yet another player to
consensus All-America status as Andre Wadsworth joined the group in 1997.
In 1999, Gladden will have Roland Seymour returning as the starter on the
left side with sensational juniors Jamal Reynolds and David Warren battling
it out on the right side.
Over his 24-year stint at FSU, Gladden has produced some of the
Seminoles top talent including former Oakland Raider star Willie Jones,
former Washington Redskin Sterling Palmer and All-Pro outside linebacker
Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Add to that list Wilson of the
Bengals, Boulware with Ravens, Wadsworth with the Cardinals and Greg Spires
with New England and you have one impressive list.
In addition to his position coaching duties, Gladden is one of the
nation’s best when out on the recruiting trail. Whichever area the affable
coach has been assigned has produced some of the top talent on the FSU
squad. A keen evaluator and champion recruiter, Gladden’s one of the
nation’s best at culling the talent for the Tribe.
Gladden also coaches the punt block unit for FSU. Last year, the
Seminoles blocked two and in 1984, the Seminoles blocked a school record
eight punts during the regular season and added a crucial block in the
Citrus Bowl to give FSU a 17-17 tie with Georgia. Since 1976, Florida
State has blocked 71 kicks, but the numbers are deceiving since the Tribe
shifted its effort to returning punts with the likes of Deion Sanders,
Terrell Buckley and now Peter Warrick back on the receiving end.
Gladden was an all-conference selection as a player at William
Jewell College in Missouri where he graduated in 1962. Over the next 15
years, Gladden coached in the high school ranks. He spent four years in
Kansas City and St. Louis as an assistant high school coach before moving
into head coaching positions in Tennessee and Kentucky, where he was the
high school coach of the year in 1970. After two years as head coach at
Hernando High in Brooksville, FL, Gladden came to FSU.
Born in Springfield, MO, Gladden and his wife, Patty, have two
children – Julie and John.