I believe Urban Meyer. Do you?

Media and fans have become justifiably skeptical any time a college football coach says he isn’t interested in a particular job and professes shock and dismay that the media would even enquire about such a thing. The problem is that usually in his denials, the coach always leaves himself a little wiggle room with phrases like:

 “I intend to be here the rest of my career” or

 

 

 “I have the best job in college football”

 or the always crowd-pleasing: “This is the only job I want.”

Urban Meyer did none of that when he returned my phone call on Wednesday. The Florida coach was emphatic:

He is not going to Notre Dame. Ever.

Well, well.

The speculation about the Florida coach and Notre Dame has been on a low burn under the surface for a while. The speculation was natural. There are ties there. He worked for Lou Holtz. His mother loves the place. She named him after a pope.

But that low burn was turned up to a full flame last week with an internet column from the state of Alabama that said “Urban Meyer is probably leaving Florida after the season to go to Notre Dame.”

“I got back from a family vacation and got hit with that by one of our recruits,” Meyer said. “He told me that other schools were saying it. So I knew I had to be very definite, very clear.”

Meyer was attending Pat Dooley’s (Gainesville Sun) charity golf tournament last Saturday when he stood before the crowd and said: “I’m not going to Notre Dame. Ever. I’m going to be the coach at Florida for a long time, as long as they want me.”

Then he told the media in the room to print it.

“It (the speculation) was just getting ridiculous,” Meyer told me. “I have a great deal of respect for Notre Dame but there is nothing there on either side.”

Now if Meyer wins his third national championship in four years and flies off to South Bend, then you can let him have it and he’ll deserve the wrath that comes his way. But I believe the guy and here’s why: It’s simply logical.

Like Meyer, I have a great deal of respect for Notre Dame. In fact, I’m going there this weekend for the College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies. It’s a special place. But from a football standpoint, it is simply not the same place where Holtz won a national championship in 1988.

We have had a generation of players grow up with Notre Dame rarely relevant on the national stage. They have never heard of Knute Rockne or Ara Parseghian. They know Lou Holtz because he’s on television.

Yes, Notre Dame has its own television network (NBC) but now every game is on television so that it is no longer an advantage for Notre Dame. The SEC has two television networks (CBS, ESPN). Just like the schools in the Big Ten have had a tough time recruiting the great speed players from the South, so has Notre Dame. And in today’s game you are not going to win without speed.

My Georgia friends are not going to like this but it is an undeniable fact: Steve Spurrier (1990-2001) turned Florida into one of the top three jobs in all of college football. It is the state university in the state that produces a ton of Division I-A prospects. Meyer does not have to travel very far to recruit all the talent he needs. That would not be the case at Notre Dame, where you have to recruit nationally just to have a chance. There are reasons why Urban Meyer chose Florida over Notre Dame in December of 2004. Those reasons have not changed.

Now is it possible that Urban Meyer, who just turned 45 last Friday, might someday want different challenge than winning the SEC? Sure, it’s possible. Anything is possible in the crazy business of coaching.

 But in my experience coaches leave because somebody offers them a better job for more money. Notre Dame, for all of its great tradition, is never going to be a better job than Florida. The world has changed too much. Meyer is making  $3.25 million now and his president, Bernie Machen, is on record saying Meyer should be the highest paid coach in the SEC. LSU’s Les Miles was the league’s highest-paid coach last season at  $3.751 million. Alabama’s Nick Saban will average $4 million over the life of his eight-year contract.

So Meyer is going to get paid. If he ever leaves Florida, it’s not going to be because of money. Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley stayed ahead of the curve and made Steve Spurrier the first $2 million college football coach in 1997. He is not going to let Urban Meyer walk out the door over a few million dollars.

Meyer is like any other football coach in that he has his supporters and his detractors. His supporters will almost always give him the benefit of the doubt. His detractors will not. They want him out of the SEC, just like they wanted Spurrier out when he was dominating the league. They will question the veracity of everything he says and does. That’s part of the game.

 But even Meyer’s biggest critics will admit that the man is not stupid.  After such a definitive statement, he knows that if he leaves for Notre Dame the fan and media  backlash will make what happened to Nick (“I am not going to be the coach at Alabama”) Saban look like a walk in the park.

So I believe him. Do you?

Please follow me on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

 

236 comments Add your comment

TampaDave

July 16th, 2009
2:19 pm

Im willing to bet anyone here that Meyer will be the coach at Florida long after most of the other current SEC coaches are gone.

Tide4u2c

July 16th, 2009
2:19 pm

IRISH25,

Tell them about how Notre Dame fans would love for Urban Meyer to come to ND.Again I hope Urban does not leave Florida.

big dawg

July 16th, 2009
2:21 pm

ego, he has THE biggest ego in the business.(him and saban) he’ll be gone next year.. trust me. and i agree with most that it’s not him that sux going up against, it’s tebow. he truly may be the best college player ever to play. other than hershel……..:)

Otto

July 16th, 2009
2:21 pm

Todd, Dooley didn’t inherit Herschel. He won a long hard fight against schools coast to coast to get him in Athens. Herschel is known as one of the first to hold past signing day.

Also don’t forget as recently as ‘76 UGA was SEC champs and played that year in the Sugar for a shot at the national title. Pitt won the Sugar to become national champs.

First Time Caller

July 16th, 2009
2:28 pm

You have to admit, Finebaum has gotten alot of pub out of this. I’ll bet Urban Meyer didn’t know Paul Finebaum from lip balm a little over a week ago. Which is probably why PF expresses such distain for Meyer. Funny how Mr College Football could get him (Meyer) right on the phone though…

Tide4u2c

July 16th, 2009
2:33 pm

I stopped listening to Paul Finebaum along time ago.

Dink

July 16th, 2009
2:34 pm

Otto,

Wish you had not reminded me of Dorset & Pitt!

#1 BAMA FAN

July 16th, 2009
2:44 pm

Urban Meyer will not leave the Gators for ND. He has one of the best coaching jobs at one of the best schools. You might hate him but he has done a good job. My advice for my Tide and the rest of the SEC is man up and play. RTR

Tide Rising

July 16th, 2009
2:49 pm

Tide4u2c,

Wise choice to stop listening to Paul Slimebaum. I know other Bama fans that still listen to his program even though they hate the guy. The just want to hear what kinda smack he’s going to say next.

As a matter of fact he was on his show a month or 2 rehashing the old rumors about a Bama booster who owns an auto dealership in Gadsden buying Dodge chargers for recruits like Jerrell Harris and Dre Kirkpatrick. Never mind that those rumors were started on Auburn message boards and were looked into and found to be 100% baseless.

Sam

July 16th, 2009
2:50 pm

While I would never say never, Tony makes a great argument against Meyer going to ND. One thing I have read is that Meyer likes that he can recruit easily in FL. I do not mean that kids want to go there, but that he can see a lot of recruits and be home that night for dinner. He would not be able to do that at ND.

Even with Tebow gone in 2010, it is not like he is going to be starting some schlep walk on. I think he has signed one of the top QBs in the past couple of years.

Got 12?

July 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

SEC Coaches announced their pre-season all conference team today. Julio (Bama), Ciron Black (LSU), and Berry (UT) were the only unanimous selections.

Which coach(es) didn’t vote for Tebow? I’m guessing Lane and Nutt, who probably voted for Snead.

Got 12?

July 16th, 2009
2:57 pm

I’m guessing tomorrow’s column will be about the SEC Coachs’ Pre-season All Conference Team. The coaches (who, by default, know the most about SEC football) picked Julio as a unanimous first-team selection.

We can rehash the Julio v. AJ debate tomorrow or some other slow football news day.

Tide4u2c

July 16th, 2009
3:06 pm

Tide Rising,

Yeah I know a few Bama fans too that listen to him eventhough they don’t really like him. What did it for me is I remember when Bama was going after Saban and Paul Finebaum was all for it and he did a segment on how Saban deals with the media, now it was never a problem for me how Saban does the media as a matter of fact I like his style, if you ask a good quetion he will answer you,etc plus Saban does’nt want information to get to rival teams and he does’nt much allow assistent coaches to talk to the media. Well it was’nt a problem for Finebaum either at that time. Yet after Saban came to Alabama he does a segment and rips into Saban about how he does the media. That did it for me.

Island Dawg

July 16th, 2009
3:06 pm

Yes, and Richt is soon heading to Tallahassee. Yawn… I know it’s the off-season but this conjecture is unreal. If Meyer goes anywhere it’s to the NFL, same with Richt. The UF and UGA HC jobs are possibly the best in the NCAA. Great climates and campuses, very fertile recruiting grounds and great support. I’ll throw in Texas as well, but University of Southern Compton ain’t up there.

Jevan's Dad

July 16th, 2009
3:13 pm

Well Jevan, we did get Tebow there, but we’re gonna make him a linebacker. You come on down and you’ll be the man at QB for the gators.
The guy’s a convicted liar, just like Saban. Don’t listen to what they say, just watch them go, go, go.

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
3:13 pm

Got 12,

I’m sure it’ll be a topic of discussion. While Tebow not getting a unanimous vote is a dig, I’m cool with it, it’s not a huge deal. I think the bigger snub is A. Hernandez only getting 3rd. There’s not a TE in the country I’d trade him for.

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
3:17 pm

Yet another legal expert in our midst…

Island Dawg

July 16th, 2009
3:18 pm

He’s going nowhere. Yes, he will lose possibly the best college player in recent memory, but I’ll take sunny, near both coasts Gainesville and Florida recruiting grounds over gray, nasty-a$$ South Bend any day. Only way he can go “up” over UF is the Saban/Spurrier route and look where both are now. Just a thought. Sorry, guys, he doesn’t have anywhere near the Spurrier W/L on us and I can’t wait to see what the post-Tebow era brings

TechBuzz

July 16th, 2009
3:21 pm

Meyer still remembers that taunting penalty ordered by Richt in the ga-fl game 2 years ago, and will use that to his advantage for years in pumping up the players before the game. Richt just doesn’t have what it takes to win big games. He’s been at Ga a lot longer than Meyer but can’t beat him unless the florida QB is hurt. Maybe uga should try another blackout this year in the florida game—it worked great last year! Watch out–Meyer just called another time out!

Will

July 16th, 2009
3:22 pm

Ya, and Obama told me my taxes weren’t going up.

AltamahaDawg

July 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

If he didn’t refer to himself in the third person, it doesn’t count.

FWIW, I hope he doesn’t leave. I didn’t want SOS to leave. There will be years that he has the pieces, there will be years he does not, just like every coach at every school since the game began. He will lose 1 out of every 5 games over time, and everybody else just needs to make sure they have thier act together to be that one.

Island Dawg

July 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

Tech Buzz, I’d love to see what UF would do to the Jackoffs. Remember LSU?

Sunny Purdue

July 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

I think he is laying low waiting for the jawga job to open up. But then again why would he want that ….he already owns the dogs.

Houston Nutt

July 16th, 2009
3:27 pm

Got 12,

I did not vote for Jevan snead. Coaches cannot vote for their own player. So that means that someone voted against Tebow in favor of Snead or someone else. Who????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Given that Lane Kiffin is obviously very juvenile, childish, and immature I don’t think there is any question that he is probably the one who denied Tebow the unanimous selection. He obviously did it in a cowardly fashion in order to spite Tebow and the Florida program. Everybody knows it was most likely him.

TS

July 16th, 2009
3:34 pm

If Kiffin didn’t vote for Tebow then please let it leak out in the next couple weeks. I already have my TN ticket in The Swamp so that would be OKAAAY with me. Not so much for Tennessee though.

G8R GRAD

July 16th, 2009
3:36 pm

Jeff Sanchez:

One might question the validity of ANY information glommed from a site named after a character in Animal House!

KingGator

July 16th, 2009
3:36 pm

Mr. Barnhart, you hit the nail on the head. And that is, the Florida coaching job is in the top 3 of college football. So yeah, coaches come and go, but Gator football has become a dynasty, and the rest of the SEC and college football world now realizes that.

If I were Urban Myer, I would enjoy the moment and let it linger as long as possible. And with the roll he is on, why even consider another job, unless it is with America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t forget where Jimmy Johnson wound up after getting Miami up on top

jarvis

July 16th, 2009
3:43 pm

Urban Meyer reminds me NOTHING of Bobby Petrino. He may not be the most-friendly guy in the world, but I’ve seen nothing that shows he has the lack of interity or the lack of respect Petrino showed for his players.
The simple fact that he is tweaking his offensive strategy this year to give Tebow more time in protype sets says he cares more about his players than Petrino ever has.

Lest I need to remind the folks on this blog, I’m a two time UGA-grad, and a season ticket holder.

I despise Florida, but you can’t crap on a man’s integrity without cause.

Got 12?

July 16th, 2009
3:44 pm

Coach Nutt, I apologize.

I also apologize for jumping the gun on tomorrow’s (probable) topic, Tony.

Let’s get back to Coach UM and ND.

Volman

July 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

I believe Urban Meyer’s words as much as I believe ANY hype that puts the Georgia Bulldogs or “dawgs” in the National Title talk. Both are epic failures.

Houston Nutt

July 16th, 2009
3:47 pm

Got12,

I’ll give you that. If Julio Jones is a unanimous pick by the SEC coaches then that clearly does end the Julio vs AJ debate. AJ is still a great player though and I think any Bama fan like yourself would love to have that guy nearly as much as Julio Jones.

Houston Nutt

July 16th, 2009
3:50 pm

Got 12,

I’m thinking it would be an awesome topic tomorrow to know who slighted the mighty Tebow. Ya just know it was the immature and childish Kiffin but yet ya can’t prove it. Just more ammo for the sure to come slaughter in the swamp when UT heads down there.

Kiffin and people like volman above calling Meyer as well as the dawgs “epic failures” ensures that Meyer will not stop at 60, he’s probably now going to go for putting up 70 on the vols.

how2fish

July 16th, 2009
3:54 pm

I think he will stay..I want him to stay…to be the best you have to beat the best and I think once the best college football player I’ve ever seen goes… we can beat him..not ever year he is too good for that but most of the time I think yes we can..stay Urban..we love to hate you..not as much as Spurrier but yeah that we respect your slimy guts and want to kick your butt..

shankit

July 16th, 2009
4:05 pm

I realize Florida has won 2 out of the last 3 championships, but outside of this
accomplishment, Florida has actually been an embarrassment to the SEC in
bowl appearances.
Since 1999, excluding their national championships in 2006 and 2008, Florida
has only won two bowl appearances losing seven.
Their only two wins were against Maryland and Iowa.
Their other seven losses were to Michigan State, Iowa, Miami, and Michigan.
Zook and Spurrier both had losing records in bowl appearances.
So what does this mean, on SEC weak off years they win the conference and lose in the bowls.
I don’t really know why everyone fears them. Kinda like playing against Tiger.
I will say that Florida has a winning record overall against all SEC opponents except one.
I don’t think I have to say who the team is they have an overall losing record against.
The heck with Urban and the Gators and Tiger, I think it’s time we put some whip a– on them.

Dave

July 16th, 2009
4:10 pm

Why would a sane person take one of the most insecure jobs in the world a football coach and go from perhaps a school where he will have the most job security of any other coach in college football to just rolling the dice at Notre Dame. FL will pay him whatever Notre Dame will especially after this new TV contract the SEC just got.

Gatorzone

July 16th, 2009
4:12 pm

Shankit, in all fairness many SEC teams have underperformed in bowls when they are not playing for it all. Look at Alabama last year, or UT the previous year, or UGA against WVU. It just seems to be that if the powerhouses are not playing for it all they really do not have much interest in the game being played.

His Eminance

July 16th, 2009
4:13 pm

Houston & Got 12?:

Of course it was Kiffen!

OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

Gatorzone

July 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

Oh, and by all means open up some whip a– on us! UF loves to demoralize the best that UGA has to offer year in and year out. Yes, yes I know you own the over all record. So what, how is your record since you were born? Isn’t that what really matters?

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
4:16 pm

shankit is right….

What an embarrassment UF and I guess LSU have been winning NC’s as SEC schools since 1999 (the arbitrary year that SEC history started). What the conference really needs are teams that’ll go down and win the Capital One Bowl, the Peach Bowl, and the Outback Bowl (the losses you reference) that way the country will know that the SEC is the premier league in college football.

CharlotteGator

July 16th, 2009
4:20 pm

Oh yeah, #2 end of the season rankings and 10-win seasons are also what strikes fear into the heart of the Big 11, Big 12, and Big East. (OK, probably an unnecessary shot, but that overall record line incited it :) )

Get a clue. No one school is embarrassing the SEC. It’s the conference’s top to bottom strength that makes it the best. We’re not a one team league (PAC-10, Big 11, etc.) so when some teams are down, others pick up the slack.

shankit

July 16th, 2009
4:21 pm

GATORZONE
Too bad Florida doesn’t have any interest when they’re representing
their conference against other conferences including
Big Ten’s Michigan, Michigan STate and their “used to be”
interstate rival Miami, which Florida dropped because they
couldn’t handle them.

ray

July 16th, 2009
4:25 pm

You guys that think Meyer is so dishonest, can you give any examples? Sure he’s arrogant, and intensely competitive, but he is also a man of high integrity and moral principle. He doesn’t lie to recruits, and promise them playing time or a certain jersey number, or such His straightforward manner and basic integrity, combined with his intensity, are what make him a great coach. If he says he’s never back to coach Notre Dame, you bank it.

stassen.com

July 16th, 2009
4:28 pm

Shankit,

You are dead wrong on Florida having a winning head to head overall record against everyone in the SEC. Not to diminish the gators but quite the opposite is true. Florida had been a powerhouse for all of 20 years or less. The 100 years or so of football before that they were larely a joke and irrelevant.

Georgia owns an 8 game edge over the gators head to head 46-38. Despite Florida’s dominance over the last 20 years Georgia had so thoroughly dominated Florida for so long that they still lead the all time series by 8 games.

Bama leads them 21-14. Thank God for the gators that they never played Bama much before the 90s and on or else this record would be horribly out of wack.

UT and the gators are tied 19-19

Auburn leads the gators 43-38. No surprise there as Auburn was always viewed as a bigger time program until the 90s.

Even Ole Miss which most people have laughed about for 30 or 40 years(except for this year) leads the series with the mighty gators 12-10.

Again, not to put down Florida because right now they are a rolling. But the fact is that this is a program that has only been good for 2 decades and that’s it. Their rise also coincides with down cycles at Miami and FSU. Those programs are too big and too strong to stay down for long. They will be back in no time and that includes taking back some of the bountiful recruiting talent that Florida has taken instate lately.

shankit

July 16th, 2009
4:38 pm

Your Powerhouse Gators since 1999 (could have picked any year
but ya’ll set the precedent of only wanting to go back a certain period
of time for establishing records.
Ya’ll had a couple of good years since 1999, but I’ll bet you didn’t know
that your winning percentage during this period has only been 63.3%.
I wouldn’t exactly call that a Powerhouse.

G8R GRAD

July 16th, 2009
4:43 pm

Regarding the All-SEC team and to quote two of my esteemed fellow Gators,. . . . . . . .

an embarrassment of riches:

“Defending SEC and national champion Florida Gators had a league-high 16 representatives on the 2009 All-Southeastern Conference Coaches’ Football Team, while LSU had 10 total selections and defending Western Division Champion Alabama and Georgia had nine each, the league office announced on Thursday.

Florida led the way with eight players selected on the first team while Alabama had six and LSU had three.”

Dawgs Craze

July 16th, 2009
4:44 pm

I’m hoping weis gets fired and Notre Dame offers big money to get Meyer away from Florida. Then, they’ll end up with another mediocre coach like Zook and the Dawgs can start dominating the series like the 70s and 80s!

dawgtired

July 16th, 2009
4:54 pm

That’s great, Urban leaves for ND, UGA replaces CWM with Charlie Strong, whose defenses have puzzled CMR. CWM goes to UM.

shankit

July 16th, 2009
4:56 pm

G8GRAD
“an embarassment of riches”
Congratulations to the Gators for have 16 football players nominated to the SEC Coaches football team.
This goes right along with your accomplishments based on a recent survey of the AJC among all
college teams in the nation regarding academics.
Florida is congratulated for having the lowest SAT score of all teams in the SEC, (850), and also
in the lowest five among all colleges polled in the country.
Urban knows how to recruit.
Ga. Tech led the nation with a 1020 average, and Georgia was second highest in the SEC behind Vanderbilt.

Tide Rising

July 16th, 2009
4:59 pm

Dawgs craze,

Notre Dame is set up very nicely to have a 9 or dare I say 10 game winning season. Their schedule is flat out notoriously easy with their usual matchup with USC being the only tough game. Normally Boston College is a loss for them but BC is in a flux right now with what happened with the firing of their coach, their qb situation, etc.

They also return all 5 Olineman and most of their team. They still suck but with such an easy schedule they will get 9 wins and go to a bcs bowl where they will promptly have the living hell beat out of them.

So we know Weiss won’t get fired this year. It would be next year at the earliest.

Besides, quit worrying about Urban Meyer. You should be glad he’s here. It keeps the standards high. The rest of us just have to man up and beat him. It can be done and its just pathetic to base your football program’s future hopes on the promise that somebody else’s coach will eventually leave. I just happen to be in the opposite boat. I’m hoping for Gene Chizik to stay forever in the same way that my Auburn friends were hoping for Shula to stay forever!

I’m certain Tony’s topic tomorrow will be the sec all conference selections and of that I’m certain that the ensuing discussion will about who left out Tebow from being a unanimous pick. This should be interesting. From some previous posts it looks like its already started.

FLDAWG

July 16th, 2009
4:59 pm

Why would he leave? He has made UF a power house and I am not one of those UGA fans who wants him to leave. Suck it up and quit wishing with him out it will be all better in DAWG nation. To be the best you have got to beat the best and right now the Gators are the best plain and simple.