Jim Gladden is back for his 27th year on the Seminole coaching staff and his second with the title of Associate Head Coach.
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 24 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 three years ago, all Gladden did in 1997 was coach yet another player to consensus All-America status as Andre Wadsworth joined the group. Last year, Gladden coached Jamal Reynolds who won the Lombardi Award and earned consensus All-America honors. He was drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.
Over his 26-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 the Ravens, Wadsworth with the Cardinals, Greg Spires with New England, and Tony Bryant with the Raiders 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 talent evaluator and personable 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. Since 1976, Florida State has blocked 78 kicks, but the numbers are deceiving since the Tribe shifted its effort to returning punts with the likes of Deion Sanders, Terrell Buckley and 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, Fla., Gladden came to FSU.
Born in Springfield, Mo., Gladden and his wife, Patty, have two children — Julie and John and five grandchildren.
Gladden Quick Facts