Former Texas great Jerry Gray, a 23-year veteran of the NFL as a player and coach, returned to his alma mater in January 2011 to join the Longhorns staff as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach. Gray spent nine seasons as a player in the league and 14 years as an assistant coach, including five as a defensive coordinator.
A four-year letterman at defensive back from 1981-84, Gray is one of only seven Longhorns to earn two-time consensus All-America honors, as he did in 1983 and 1984. He earned unanimous honors as a senior and is still one of only 20 players in UT history to accomplish that feat. He was also a two-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1983-84. Inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1996, Gray is also a member of the Texas All-Time Team and All-Decade Team for the 1980's.
Gray finished his career ranked second on the UT career interceptions list and still stands third with 16, just one behind record holders Noble Doss and Nathan Vasher. He is also tied with Vasher and three others for second on the single-season interceptions list after pulling in seven in 1984. He shared that record until S Earl Thomas set a mark with eight in 2009. Gray also finished his career fourth on the career fumble recoveries list and still stands eighth with six recoveries.
Gray spent last season as defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks where he helped Thomas make an immediate impact as a rookie in the NFL. During the regular season, Thomas started all 16 games, ranking ninth in the league and second among rookies in interceptions with five. He was also fifth on the team with 76 tackles.
He joined the Seahawks after serving in the same capacity for the Washington Redskins for four seasons from 2006-09. In 2009, The Redskins ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense, passing defense and fewest passing TDs allowed. The secondary was led by veterans Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot and DeAngelo Hall, along with LaRon Landry. Rogers led the team with 12 passes defended, while Hall had four INTs. Landry was fourth on the team in tackles with 90, and Smoot added six passes defended.
In 2008, the Washington defense also ranked in the top 10 in both total defense and passing defense. Rogers had a team-high 24 passes defensed with two INTs and 56 tackles. Hall finished the season with two INTs in just seven games as a Redskin after being acquired midseason and had assumed a starting cornerback position by season's end. Landry was fourth on the team in tackles also that year with 65 and had two INTs with 11 passes defended, while Sean Springs added seven passes defended and an INT.
In 2007, the Redskins' secondary was diminished by the loss of Rogers to injured reserve following Week 8, but still managed to hold opponents to 214.0 passing yards per game. Springs and Smoot combined for 129 tackles (114 solo), five interceptions and 29 passes defensed, while Landry was second on the team with 95 tackles. Sean Taylor led the team with five INTs and had nine passes defended.
Gray spent five years in Buffalo as the Bills defensive coordinator from 2001-05. In 2004, Gray led a defense that finished second in the NFL in total defense and in the top five in the league in fewest touchdowns allowed (29), yards allowed per game (264.2), passing yards allowed per game (164.0), sacks registered (45) and led the league with 39 turnovers forced.
He orchestrated a major defensive turnaround in 2003 when his unit finished the year ranked second in the NFL in total defense (second against the pass, eighth against the run). His defense also ranked fifth overall in points allowed in 2003.
Prior to joining the Bills in 2001, Gray spent the previous four seasons as an assistant with the Tennessee Titans, including the last two as defensive backs coach. He helped Tennessee finish as the NFL's No. 1-ranked pass defense and total defense in 2000, and also guided CB Samari Rolle and S Blaine Bishop to All-Pro selections.
Gray originally started with the Titans as the defensive assistant/quality control coach in 1997 before being elevated to the defensive backs position. He broke into the coaching ranks in 1995 as the defensive backs coach at Southern Methodist.
A nine-year veteran of the NFL, Gray was a first-round pick (21st overall) in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. During his career, he played with the Rams (1985-91), Houston Oilers (1992) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993). He was a four-time Pro Bowler at cornerback (1986-89) with the Rams, and finished with 28 career interceptions. He posted a season-high eight interceptions in 1986, just his second year in the NFL. He was also named the NFL's Defensive Back of the Year in 1989 and earned MVP honors in the 1990 Pro Bowl.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Gray earned a bachelor's of science degree in speech communications from UT. He lettered in football, basketball and track at Estacado High in Lubbock, was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame in 1995 and was recently named to the All-Time Texas High School team.
Gray and his wife, Sherry, have two sons, Jeremy and Jayden. Jeremy just finished his redshirt freshman season as a defensive back at SMU.