Change is good, isn’t it? Urban Meyer leaves Florida… again.

I’m not fond of change.

I’ve stayed in relationships longer than I should have, jobs longer than I should have and cities longer than I should have, all because I found myself in a comfort zone.  I was afraid of what lay waiting on the other side of change.

Many of us become so accustomed to living in that comfort zone, we can’t imagine life outside it.

But like it or not, change comes.

As a Florida alum, I’ve been spoiled.  I enrolled at the school when Emmitt Smith was running roughshod over the nation.  Years later, a former Heisman winner returned to coach in the stadium he renamed the Swamp.  He established the football program as a national powerhouse, winning title after conference title.  Then one day, he was gone.

Three unsuccessful years under Ron Zook confirmed every Gator fan’s fear of change.

Shortly thereafter, the sun shone in Gainesville once again as Urban Meyer, with Tim Tebow riding side-saddle, ushered in a new period of dominance.

Paralleled by the success of its basketball program, the Florida Gators cast a shadow over college athletics, amassing four national championships and immeasurable smiles.

Yet soon, a program once characterized by dominance became equally characterized for its change.  Our basketball coach left for a day and returned.  Our football coach left, then also came back.

This Tuesday, Urban Meyer left for good.

When I first heard the news of Meyer’s latest retirement from the University of Florida, I was getting my haircut.  I returned to my car to find three voice mails and several more text messages, most of them ending in question marks, a few in exclamation points.

Gator fans never faced definitive change the first time around.  Both departures were teasers.  Meyer and Donovan both returned, with neither of them matching their previous success.  Now Meyer leaves again to do who knows what.

Only Meyer and his inner circle know where he’ll end up.  At only 46, with quite the impressive resume, it’s hard to imagine him never coaching again.  It’s also hard to imagine how Florida fans will react if and when that happens.  Will we see him as the coach who cried wolf?  Have we been Sabanized?  Will we feel better about ourselves if he never walks another sideline?

An uncertain future leaves both Meyer and Florida fans uneasy.  That’s what change does.

Wherever he ends up, somehow, some way, I get the feeling we’ll all be just fine.

45 thoughts on “Change is good, isn’t it? Urban Meyer leaves Florida… again.

  1. Nice job Chris. I think you sumed it up pretty well. It was time for a change, both for Urban and Florida.
    I wish him well and as always, GO GATORS!

  2. Coach, thanks for quickly coming to terms with what the fans saw: you and your team, for whatever reasons, have been diminished ever since the ’09 SEC game. You recognized a change was needed for everyone’s sake and made that change. For this reason and for the two crystal footballs you brought to our campus, you have my appreciation and best wishes for the future.

    Now, how ’bout some Kerwin?

  3. Aer…

    I still have mixed feelings about the whole deal.

    When Spurrier lost his mojo, he became no good for the program.

    As good a job as Meyer’s done, if he’s lost his desire for whatever reason, then maybe it’s time to move on.

    I wanted Meyer over all other candidates before he came in.

    This time around, I want Chris Petersen.

    Any other suggestions?

  4. If only Saban would leave, (sigh)!

    Is it not odd that Urban left a day or two after Denver fired McDaniel? I’d like to see him and Superman back together again.

    The U needs a big name coach to come in and overwhelm the program. While, UF has been so successful all they need is a winner, not necessarily a big ‘wow factor’.

  5. Chris

    Like I said on your chatroll I think there’s something seedy in the way he’s now left the program ! He’s now using the excuse that he misses seeing his children grow up and the barely has time to see them ? How many other coaches at all levels of collegiate football as parents aren’t in the same position ? That’s a complete crock on Meyer’s part !

    Not only that but now he’s hoping to remain with the Gators in some capacity to help them out in anyway that he can ? What his successor will find that OK ? Who the hell is kidding ? And no incoming coach would find that acceptable at all ! Not if his every decision could be undermind . C’mon Chris you know what I’m talking about don’t you ?

    I commend him on the success he’s brought the school but beyond that I think he’s somewhat naive to think that fans will buy into what he’s saying . And speaking of naive did you catch Cam Newton’s interview with ESPN’s Chris Fowler ? He made LeBron James seems cerebral with his answers . Cam your nose was growing as fast as Pinnochio’s man ! I guess that’s what a good lawyer can do for you when you have him either on speed dial or in close proximity advising you on what to say at any given moment .

    tophatal ……….. :)

  6. There are a lot of g8rs here that feel like I do: Kerwin would rock! “We want Charlie” is painted on the 34th St. wall. CW is Mullen, tho not my fave. Petersen, or Stoops, would be great, but they will not be pried loose. Chucky would be a hoot, keep those sideline mikes off him! We’re hearing the Houston coach, also.

  7. Well said, and much less reactionary than most of what I’ve seen so far. I’m a Gator grad, current UF student and DIEHARD ‘Canes fan (can’t emphasize my dislike for Gate’s fb enough), so hopefully what I’ve written over at SC has been balanced out somewhat by these two enormous biases tugging at each other… That said, I think the last 5 years have made an already entitled (dare I say ‘spoiled’?) fan base even more prone to unrealistic expectations moving forward. Coaches (and mini-dynasties) don’t come around like this very often, and I genuinely think Gainesville is in for a rude awakening if Foley’s unable to bring in somebody like Petersen.

    Then again, why wouldn’t he be able to? I guess we’re both in “we’ll see” mode right now, but fans here are expecting the next guy to stroll in and duplicate Urban’s success from ‘go’ and I, for one (the only one?), just don’t see that happening, especially with Mullen or Strong. Fact is, Gator football had one national championship in the hundred year history before Urban. To expect this title train to keep right on rolling is a far stretch.

  8. I think the difference with Meyer, Al, is that he can now afford to take leer jets to his daughters’ volleyball games whereas other coaches cannot. Perhaps he read my latest UConn women’s basketball piece and got all into women sports.

    So wait, you’re saying SportsChump is responsible for Meyer leaving?!?

    And I agree. I can see him help guide the process of selecting a new coach but that’d be as far as it goes.

    I was working so I didn’t catch the Newton interview although I’m not entirely sure he has anything to say I’m overly interested in hearing.

  9. I also heard Texas’ Will Muschamp mentioned but he’s a defensive coordinator.

    As anemic as the Gators were on offense this season, I can see them going after someone a little more offensive-minded.

  10. Slow your roll, ‘Fro.

    If ANY college fan base feels a sense of entitlement, it’s been Miami more than Florida over the years. And yes, I’ve picked up on your Miami bias. Hard not to.

    Perhaps you can spearhead a final F.U. to U.F. by helping UM recruit Meyer.

    Florida fans have gone through this rude awakening before. When Spurrier left, Stoops said no, Shanahan said no and we were stuck with Ron Zook. We all know how that ended up.

    I think the current UM-UF coaching race has the potential to get ugly over the next month or so, particularly if they’re interested in the same candidates.

    Who’s on your short list for UM hires and would you be happy with Tuberville?

  11. The U entitlement – for me, anyway – wore off about 4 4-loss seasons ago, but I hear what you’re saying… and the fact that people, including yours truly, thought we had a shot in hell to land Gruden speaks to your point. I think 5 titles gives us some ego leeway, but sad truth is, a lot of the swag died right along with the OB.

    I actually don’t see the coaching race getting ugly, if only because UF should be able to get whoever it wants. Miami just doesn’t have that kind of leverage right now, which makes it all the more surprising that Petersen is actually hot on the rumor trail.

    To answer your question, then,… Petersen, but I acknowledge he might be pie in the sky. And on my not-so-short list, Mullen (though his relative inexperience worries me), Pelini (though his relative flakiness worries me), and Whittingham (though his relative anonymity worries me).

    Tubs would be the safe, unsexy pick and would get from me a resounding, ‘meh’. I would, however, take him over Edsall and Golden. Poaching from Temple or UConn excites me like a bucket of beige paint.

  12. Congratulations, Fro.

    The first step is admitting.

    I don’t think there’s a problem with either of us expecting excellence, based on UM’s and UF’s histories. If that’s entitlement, then so be it. We’ve earned it.

    I heard that Mullen is no longer an option but both Pelini and the Tubster are.

    My guess is you’ll end up with one of those two and I have to tell you, those aren’t bad options…. until, as you mention, Pelini’s head explodes on the sidelines.

  13. Peterson would be my first choice. Do you think he will leave Boise? Mullen would be a good fit and the guy can coach. He sure did a good job with Miss. St.

  14. It certainly surprised me too… Maybe Spurrier will be back? Naw…

    How about a conspiracy?

    With all the hoopla about Cam Newton being shopped around by his dad after leaving the Gators and the resulting NCAA investigation, it makes me wonder if a deal between the Newtons and U of F might come to light as I’m sure the investigation will continue. Is Urban bailing before that happens? Stranger things have happened (witness Pete Carrol)…

    Hang in Chris, the Gators will harness another good coach and the Florida talent pool will feed many more championship runs…

  15. Aer…

    From an outsider’s perspective, it makes perfect sense for Petersen to leave Boise, unless he’s a lifer. He might be.

    He’s losing all his talent and he knows he’s that program will ever get any respect from the pollsters unless they join a major conference.

    Not to mention Florida can probably double his salary.

  16. Dwin…

    I heard else someone mention the Newton/Meyer connection as well. Let’s just hope that’s not true. And we think we have problems NOW.

    We’re still licking our wounds but, as you mention, we all have faith that Foley will land another big fish.

  17. Chris

    Let’s just say some journalists and pundits within the are aren’t too enamored with Meyer at present. He now makes John Kerry seem lucid in his thoughts.

    As to him having a say in who should be his successor is ludicrous and it should be left to the AD and university president. He’s done what he’s needed to do and it’s now time to move on. I’ve no problem perhaps having some input in recruiting but that’s it.

    Newton having swept last night’s college awards now has to look forward to being at the Downtown Athletic Club in NYC for the Heisman presentation. His father says he won’t be attending because he doesn’t want to be a distraction . You don’t say …. LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Pity he didn’t think about that when he started to pimp out his son .

    Is the Cliff Lee situation now turning into one of those Sothebys art auctions ? The figures now being thrown out there are now becoming ridiculous ! Seven years $140 million ? You sir bidding on the right do I hear 8 years $166 million ? Oh ten years $250 million …… sold to the gentleman representing …..who did you say again the New York Yankees ?

    Ah well, so what’s new ?

    :)

    tophatal …………. :)

  18. Chris

    I think salary wise the likes of Mack Brown , Bob Stoops and Nick Saban easily outweigh that of Meyer’s and their perks are well above what he was getting from Florida .

    Lear Jet or not his legacy to my mind has been a little tainted by this action !

    tophatal ………… :)

  19. Al…

    Maybe we’ll be in luck and Brian Schmitz will write about Carmelo Anthony becoming the new Florida coach.

    The whole Newton-and-his-dad thing is actually pretty sad. But it’s okay because $200,000 grand doesn’t buy what it used to in New York City.

    And it’s looking as if Lee can write his own ticket but let’s not forget about Greinke who’s still out there and will make a solid addition to someone’s starting staff for half the price.

  20. Those are the four top paid coaches in college football, well, that was until Meyer split. None of them are hurting for cash.

    I think it’s too early to talk legacy for Meyer, Al.

    If he never coaches again, he’ll still go down as one of the greatest ever.

    If he goes elsewhere, then that’s a different story altogether.

  21. Chris

    I don’t know about being one of the greatest ever as far as coaching goes. When measured against the likes of Spurrier and Paterno his resume’ is somewhat lean don’t you think ? Albeit that he’s won two national titles .

    That’s the caveat as far as I see with regard to Meyer because if six months from now he assumes the role as a coach elsewhere what then ? Will he be seen as a pariah in some circles ?

    As for Newton $200,000 could’ve built a half decent church (Newton’s father being a pastor) in Neenan , Ga or even a decent brothel . But money obviously may well have changed hands somewhere but given the fact that the NCAA doesn’t have subpoena powers we may well never know the whole truth.

    Talking about area journalists many of ‘em have become unhinged because Meyer’s actions. How comes they weren’t like that the first time around ?

    :)

    tophatal ……….. :)

  22. Nice one, I too am usually afraid of change especially when it comes quickly.

    All i keep thinking about is the bowl game and who would’ve thought that it would be the 46 year old Meyer retiring instead of 200 year old Joe Pa!

  23. Chris

    Meyer as one of the greatest ever ? Really ? I know you’re an avowed Gator and all but that’s a bit excessive .

    If he (Meyer) returns to coaching in some capacity elsewhere will your thoughts about him change ?

    Bo Pelini interviewed for the Canes’ job against the wishes of Cornhuskers’ AD Tom Osborne. Never mind the fact that he (Pelini) is still under contract to the school . What do you think that the conversation between those two will be like then ?


    Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

    :P

    tophatal ………. :)

  24. Ok, Al, let me rephrase.

    If he never coaches again, his might go down as one of the most peculiar resumes in all of college football.

    Guy’s got two national championships and another undefeated season (I believe) at Utah.

    We give favor, understandably, to guys with longevity like Paterno and Bowden, but we also measure success in rings and Meyer has two.

    For the record, I’m happy with the Muschamp pick.

  25. I don’t know how much say Meyer will have now that Muschamp has been hired, Al.

    Urban will ride off into the sunset… and perhaps eventually regret his decision.

    I still think Miami needs to land either Pelini or Tuberville. Anything less would be uncivilized… which is what Miami’s all about anyway, isn’t it?

  26. And re: the Magic, I’m not sure I should openly express my thoughts for fear that Magic personnel will read my advice, turn that team back into the way it’s supposed to look and not properly reimburse the Chump.

  27. Chris

    And over that time what talent has Meyer developed for the NFL ? Merely judging by rings alone means something but in the big picture the talent also has to mean something doesn’t it ?

    Muschamp doesn’t exactly get the stomach churning not when based on the Longhorns season and their deficiencies on offense. But I guess that’s the best that Foley could do at the time given Florida’s resources !

    The Magic are way too inconsistent for my liking ! They will struggle not only in the regular season but postseason as well. Lewis and Carter are giving them absolutely nothing at the moment ! One if not both could be out of Orlando come the trade deadline.

    Cam’s got his Heisman but the FBI and Mississippi State Attorney’s office are digging deep into the matter way more than the NCAA ever did. Like I’ve said that body (NCAA) has about as much use fecal matter on the sole of one’s shoe !

    :P

    tophatal ……….. :)

  28. Al…

    Look at this last class, man. C’mon. He’s got close to 30 players in the NFL, not to mention making Alex Smith that first draft pick a few years back. Smith may have ended up sucking but he still got paid. College players want an avenue to the next level and Meyer gave them that.

    Ya know, what? Re: Muschamp, I’m cool with it. I’d say he was probably second on my list. Stoops’ name always comes up when Florida has an opening, but I think Foley probably got tired of asking him to the prom and getting turned down.

    I haven’t watched any of the games during the current Magic losing streak. I’m working too damn much. But I don’t think it’s time to panic, i.e., make a trade. They have the talent. It’s just up to SVG to tinker with that lineup so he can get a friggin’ win.

    Where do you think Cam Newton will be drafted?

  29. Dude,this I don’t understand why Jeremy decided to go get a guy that has no Head coaching experience and gives him a six yr contract. Gator fans deserve a CEO that has been there and done that, not a guy that will be trying to figure this whole thing out. My vote is Jeremy made the wrong decision.

  30. E….

    First of all, welcome back to the damn site. ‘Bout time.

    Second of all, let me ask you this.

    Who did you want? Mullen? Strong? Those guys weren’t coming. They both just signed contracts with their schools.

    Stoops? Why would we give him a big offer when he hasn’t proven lately that he can win a big game.

    Muschamp is a kid who has energy. Watch the videos. His kids love him and THAT’S what we need. Someone to fire up the troops.

    We need some energy in that program.

    That’s what he’ll bring. You’ll see.

  31. One last thought, Al.

    The amount of players at the next level does not a great college coach make.

    Look at Mike Krzyzewski.

    How many Duke players can you honestly say have been dominant in the NBA?

    I’d say he’s been a pretty successful college basketball coach.

  32. Man, Eric is HEATED about the Muschamp hiring. I don’t see why. I think it’s a great hire. Dallas is in big time turmoil that UT did not lock Muschamp up!

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