Even if you’re a Gator hater, there is no joy in Meyer’s departure

It’s a tough business. I get that. And over the course of six seasons a head football coach in the SEC can rub a lot of people the wrong way, especially the people he beats.

But if you’re a Bulldog or a Volunteer for a Gamecock or a member of the Crimson Tide Nation, you really shouldn’t be celebrating today over the news that Urban Meyer is leaving as the head coach at Florida.

I’ve had my own issues Meyer.

 He was flat wrong when he suspended linebacker Brandon Spikes for only one-half game after Spikes clearly tried to hurt Georgia’s Washaun Ealey (sticking his fingers in the facemask). Only after the public outcry did Spikes “suddenly” decide that his suspension should be for one game.

He was wrong when he dressed down a reporter in practice in front of cell phone cameras. If he had an issue with the reporter, then there is a right way–a professional way–to address the concern. He chose the wrong way. I don’t know if Meyer was trying to put on a show for his players but it was unprofessional behavior. You don’t use people as props because you want to win football games.

He was flat wrong when he allowed Chris Rainey to return to the team and I said so. There are certain lines in life that you do not cross and threats against women is one of those lines. The rationalizations about who Rainey was and his background, etc., may have all been true. But all that pales in comparison to a text message that said “Time to die, ——-.”

The more success Meyer and the Florida program had, the more withdrawn and insular it became. They became like rock stars who once basked in the attention that brought them fame and fortune but ultimately found it suffocating and just tried to block it all out.

But instead of managing the media  and managing the very high expectations,  which successful people do every day, Meyer chose to throw up walls and pull in the ranks and adopt this silly “us agains the world” mentality. Coaches do that because it’s easy and the players will easily buy into it. It’s much easier for a coach to tell a player “they are all out to get us” instead of “dealing with the media–good and bad–is part of growing up. If you want to play at the next level you need to learn how to deal with these people and be smart about it. We will teach you how to do that.” But that takes work and, in some coaches’ narrow view of the world, it has nothing to do with winning and losing and so it should simply be eliminated as a factor. It is short sighted but if you win enough games, being short sighted eventually becomes a virtue.

Having said all that, Meyer is/was a helluva coach and the record certainly proves that. He won two national championships in three seasons (2006, 2008) and was certainly good enough in 2009 to win a third but for Alabama. For five years at Florida his star burned as brightly as any I’ve ever seen. But on Wednesday he announced, in so many words, that he was burned out.

I know you love your school but most of you I hear from also love your conference and college football as a whole. And so there is no reason to celebrate when the sport burns out a talented coach. You would rather he stay so that when you finally beat him it is all the more sweet.

Florida will find another talented coach. Frankly, I’m going to be surprised if its not Dan Mullen. Whoever it is will be very successful. Steve Spurrier forever changed Florida’s football program in his 12 years (1990-2001) at the school. Before Spurrier arrived Florida had never won 10 games in a season and had never won an SEC championship. Spurrier raised the bar and so Florida will never go back for more than a year or two.

And for Urban Meyer? I predict that he will be out of coaching for only one year and will surface again. This year he got caught in the perfect storm of talent losses and coaching losses and the inability to summon up the fire in the belly that had burned white hot for five seasons. We were all guilty of thinking that Florida could just reload after four years of Tim Tebow. The Florida program took a dip as all programs do (see Texas). The Gators will be back sooner rather than later but Urban Meyer will no longer be their coach.

If you love the game, there is no reason to celebrate that.

 And one last thing: If Urban Meyer goes to the Denver Broncos in the next two months, I take it all back.

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621 comments Add your comment

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:05 pm

Tide – And I also assume he never said “I will not be the football coach at the University of Alabama.” I also assume you got your info directly from Mr. H himself.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:09 pm

Tide – You also get kudos for calling people idiots. Real class act.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:09 pm

War Eagle—-

I didn’t get a chance to greet you the other day when I saw your afternoon blog posts. Welcome back, old friend, and congratulations on your Tigers’ season to date. You have been missed.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:09 pm

Dawg Tired,

He did say he would not be the coach- and then changed his mind several weeks later. He also assumed as most logical people would that after he initially declined to speak to Bama that Bama was going to hire Rich Rogriguez who declined the job. Is there a law against changing his mind after the pro season ended and reconsidering the bama job? And yes- you are still a flat out fool for insinuating Saban simply up and left in the middle of the night as Petrino did. He openly mulled the job over for a few days and Wayne countered the bama offer. This is all a matter of public record you abject fool.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:11 pm

Dawg Tired,

Sorry dude but when you dispense utter nonsense about what happened I have to call your dumba$$ out for just making crap up.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:12 pm

TR—-

When you look at home games a coach’s team or teams had to play to get to to 100 victories, Urban Meyer is running in the company of Fielding Yost and Knute Rockne. No one else has gotten to 100 wins faster in the last 50 years, not even the Evil Genius. This guy’s place in the College Football Hall of Fame is a lock.

War Eagle

December 9th, 2010
9:13 pm

Cam won O`Brian and Maxwell awards tonight. He is beat football player in football. I know their will be slanders and insulting remarks about him, but every fan on this blog would love to have him as their QB and leader…

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:15 pm

Atlanta Gator.

I would hope Meyer gets in to the college hall of fame. I had no idea he was the fastest to get to 100 wins. He is a winner and hopefully we’ll see him back in a few years after he enjoys some time watching his kids grow up.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:15 pm

Dawg Tired—-

Meyer is a great guy, a damn fine coach, Rainey and Spikes are good guys who screwed up, and Meyer was smart enough to know the difference.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:16 pm

War Eagle = He’s obviously the best player in college football. I doubt anyone would question that.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:16 pm

War Eagle,

I don’t think anyone on here- Bama fans included- will dispute that Cam is indeed the best football player in America. He will probably win the Heisman in possibly the biggest landslide we’ll see.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:17 pm

Tide – Continue to be the class act you are.

War Eagle

December 9th, 2010
9:18 pm

Gator, Thanks.. I agree with you on coach Myers, but he left too young, but will return probably,as preivous mention…NOTRE DAME..I guarantee Coach Kelly realizes the ‘the call in waiting”

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:21 pm

TR—-

Clarification: fastest in the last 50 years. There are five or six pre-1950 old-timers who achieved 100 wins in slightly fewer games. BTW, I pointed this out earlier today in the blog, but the College Football Hall of Fame minimum requirements for a coach are ten full seasons as a head coach and a 60+% winning average. This was Meyer’s tenth season as a head coach.

Whether Meyer stays retired or makes a comeback after a few years of being a color commentator, he will still have this Gator’s sincere and heartfelt thanks.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:24 pm

Dawg Tired,

Speaking of being a classy guy how about them potshots you took at Rainey and Spikes? What a classy guy you are- not to mention a hippocrite.

As I said dude when you speak slanderously about Saban and just make up crap about the manner in which he left I have to call you out. Perhaps if you would have a little more “class” and not make up your version of the facts then I wouldn’t have to call you out. Stay classy yourself.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:25 pm

Atlanta Gator – Thanks for the character references. You may well be right, but the crap I read on here about UGA players getting traffic tickets for going the wrong way down an alley on a scooter makes one a little sensitive. If those traffic-offender guys are “thugs,” one can understand guys doing things that are clearly worse being looked at with some doubt.

Gator Hater

December 9th, 2010
9:25 pm

Gator hater, uga suckup tony barnhart—trashes urban meyer, one last time!! Next UF coach will get more of the same.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:26 pm

War Eagle—-

I don’t doubt Meyer will make a comeback in a few years. He’s only 46, and he’s too restless a spirit to be a homebody forever. These can be quality years, though, that he gets to spend with his kids while he is still young enough to fully appreciate those relationships and still physically active to do things with them. I’m sure he would love to coach his son’s little team. No, pressure, Coach. No pressure.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:27 pm

Tide – I’m working on it. Perhaps I can use you as my role model.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:28 pm

Tide – P.S. Thanks for the advice.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:29 pm

DT—-

I for one have never cracked on the UGA kids for getting traffic tickets and the like. In this day and age, if that’s the most trouble the kids get in, the coaches have done well.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:29 pm

Atlanta Gator,

Well hopefully he will get in. And I was thinking the same thing- that he will be a commentator probably for several years a la Bill Curry and then after his kids get out of school he will probably get the itch again and make another coaching comeback. In any event he will go down as a great one- hard to argue against 2 national titles in 6 years to go with a runner up finish I think in 09. That would be 3 top 2 finishes in 6 years. I think he finished 2nd in 09 after demolishing Cincy right?

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:30 pm

Dawg Tired, You’re welcome.

Dawg Tired

December 9th, 2010
9:36 pm

It’s been fun guys. I must return to grading my law students’ exams. UUUGGGHHHH!!

I especially appreciate Atlanta Gator and the way he conducts himself on these blogs. My apologies to Tide. I certainly did not intend to cause you consternation.

A great holiday season to all of ya’ll.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:37 pm

Consensus No. 1 in 2006 and 2008. Consensus No. 3 in 2009. He also won two conference titles in two years at Utah, and brought Bowling Green back from the dead before that.

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:39 pm

Dawg Tired—-

Are you really a law professor? Really? That’s cool. Somehow I wouldn’t expect the ol’ prof to get so worked up over Georgia football. LOL

Cobb Dawg

December 9th, 2010
9:40 pm

No War Eagle, we wouldn’t. Cam Newton is just a symbol for what’s wrong with “college” sports. Cam Newton is not a student. He’s a paid, professional football player. You know it and I know it. Cam Newton could not pass English 101 or College Algebra. The NFL needs to have a minor league system like MLB has. So that kids who can barely spell their own name, and are wanting to get paid for their services, like Cam did, can start making money without the pretense of being a student. The *AU program is the filthiest in the NCAA.

Strange goings-on

December 9th, 2010
9:40 pm

So glad we UGA fans have Richt who can balance all his aspects of daily life. I never totally disliked Meyer but thought his relationship with Tebow was just a little over the top. I did dislike him when he continued to call timeouts in 2009 vs UGA, but he just that was an unmanly way to tell UGA he didn’t like the running on the field. I felt that he was definitely too lenient on Rainey, as was Auburn on Fairley. Maybe Meyer had come to Jesus and didn’t like the person he was turning into…. never know, do we????

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:42 pm

Dawg Tired,

Then I will likewise apologize. I’m normally a fair minded person but I just get my dander up when I hear the criticisms of Saban, Bama, etc. In any event I’m out. Happy holidays to you, Atlanta Gator, and everyone else.

Strange goings-on

December 9th, 2010
9:43 pm

@ Dawg Tired
I think you all is y’all because it’s a contraction for you all, and the ou are omitted. Correct, law prof???

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:44 pm

TR—-

In order to be a great coach, you’ve got to have the fire. If Urban Meyer has lost his, for whatever reason, no one should begrudge him a break of his own choosing followed by a comeback.. The dangerous thing about comebacks, though, is it’s nearly impossible to catch lightning in a bottle twice. Different school, different players, different staff, and the game does evolve. I’m sure John Heisman, Knute Rockne and even the Bear would struggle for a few seasons, playing catch up, if they made a comeback in 2011.

Strange goings-on

December 9th, 2010
9:49 pm

@Cobb Dawg—
You hit the nail on the head!!! This is exactly what’s wrong with college athletics, or ATH – E – LEC – TICS as Cam would pronounce it. I’m still wondering where Cam’s dad was the night of the SEC Conference game. He wasn’t sitting with his wife, but was he on the field???

Atlanta Gator

December 9th, 2010
9:51 pm

On that note, I’m calling it a night, too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all, and be of good cheer to your fellow college football fans. At the end of the day, it’s more fun to split a pint than it is to crack heads.

G’night.

Tide Rising

December 9th, 2010
9:58 pm

I was about to head out but gonna leave with one last post. I see a couple guys blogging about Cam Newton and him being everything that is wrong with college football.

I think he is the greatest player in college football this year. That being said I find it extremely difficult to believe he had no idea that his father was selling him like chattel. Why?

When Albert Means found out that his high school football coach sold him out to a bama booster and steered him to Bama Means became depressed, distraught, withdrew from school, transferred, and was out of football a year later. He had regarded his high school football coach as a father figure and never got over the betrayal.

Contrast that with Cam’s behavior. His psyche and happy, giddy behavior is certainly not indicative of someone that was just sold out and betrayed by his father.

It would seem to me he either was either in on it with his father or he truly didn’t know but he doesn’t care and has absolutely no problem with what his father did. Either way its not good. A kid who shows no signs of shame or being upset or angry over what his father did strikes me as being very, very odd. I can’t be the only person who finds this very odd.

slippery slope

December 9th, 2010
10:12 pm

cammy cam is very odd,

Ole’ Hugh Green should have punched him on stage.

jumbeauxtiger

December 9th, 2010
10:13 pm

It is sad for college football that UM is leaving. He’s a great coach and when we played his Gator teams, you had to play your best.

There is no disputing that he is one of the best and will be very tough to replace.

GC

December 9th, 2010
10:17 pm

Excellent article Tony, no one is better than you at what you do.

Pointing out his faults(many by now) is needed. He is a stud coach no doubt, but made some bad decisions in the effort of winning, which he did. Mainly Rainey-obvious, terrible. He has daughters and knows it was wrong. His reasoning to leave is solid and commendable. HE should have never came back and too many don’t do this. 15 years ago, a coach could not do this as he did not make $4M a year. His assistants will suffer and UF will shortly. Frankly, I hate UF, but respect him as a coach and more so this 2nd decision. Listen to your family and heart, always.

tex

December 9th, 2010
10:18 pm

Thanks Coach…….two National Championships…….a success wherever he’s gone…..go spend time with your family…you’ve earned it! GO GATORS!!!!!

Ben

December 9th, 2010
10:20 pm

Thanks for telling us how to feel Tony.

aarh

December 9th, 2010
10:30 pm

the rest of us- Maybe so, but that’s bc a lot of people don’t know what they’re talking about. He won his first title w/ Chris Leak as the starting QB, & Tebow barely played. I get tired of people say ing that Tebow won 2 titles. When they don’t even consider that Leak won that title. Tebow may have been a key contributor that season. It’s just the way people make it sound like he was solely responsible for 2 titles…it’s almost like Chris Leak didn’t even exist. I just think it’s inaccurate to not give him any credit though…when you consider that he did win one in that situation. He also won at Utah…back when nobody won there. I’m not a Meyer fan, but I will give credit where it’s due though.

SuperB

December 9th, 2010
10:34 pm

Who cares? The guy’s just a football coach and there are thousands of them in the US. He’s no better (or worse) than any high school or middle school coach. They are the real work horses of the game.

Dawg1

December 9th, 2010
10:35 pm

Correct on all counts.

Gen Neyland

December 9th, 2010
10:39 pm

It would be misleading of me to say I do not find a measure of glee in the fact Florida, not Meyer, has a somewhat minor issue on their hands. As far as Coach Meyer leaving, so be it. I think he did a fine job in the W-L columns at UF but does that mean I gotta be sorry he’s hitting the bricks..? Nope. Sorry, TB. Good luck to him and his. Personally, I hope his family holds up their end of the deal…

RickNole

December 9th, 2010
10:53 pm

You SEC and dawg fans can thank the Noles later, this is our decade!

Jeff

December 9th, 2010
10:59 pm

Tony — I normally love your stuff, but to quote your own column, YOU are flat wrong here.

Consider that most of us hate Urban Meyer NOT for all the winning he did, but because of ALL the reasons you mentioned (his unprofessional behavior, quick temper, lashing out at a reporter for doing his job, keeping thugs like Spikes and Rainey on his team because they were great athletes, etc. etc. etc.) Consider that other coaches have won a lot of games and won national titles — Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Tom Osborne, Vince Dooley, Gene Stallings, Bobby Ross, Johnny Majors, etc. etc. etc. — but all of THOSE guys have earned a lot of respect over the years because of how they behaved and how they dealt with and led the young men in their program.

Urban Meyer proved himself as nothing more than a glory-seeking, win-at-all-costs, obsessive/compulsive, can’t-ever-let-it-go, perfectionist who stalked the sidelines and looked like he was never having fun. For God’s sake, the man got paid tens of millions of dollars to coach a program that basically recruits itself — how could he NOT win SEC titles and national championships at Florida with Tebow, Harvin, Pouncey, Demps, Harvey, Crowder, Nelson, etc.?

Perhaps he has FINALLY seen the light and become human. We all need balance in our lives — Meyer always seemed like the 200% football guy who let losses gnaw at him and got ulcers anytime he got beat. Guys like Bobby Bowden survived as long as they did because they learned how to prioritize things and know what was REALLY important in life.

Sorry, this is one college football fan who will NOT shed any tears for Meyer. Go take some Pepto Bismol and spend time with your family, Urban… some of us who slave away every day at hard jobs for very little pay don’t have TIME to feel sorry for you as you sit on your millions and go to the beach or fish or travel or whatever you do.

Good luck finding your new coach, Florida… I hope this time you get a guy with a little more balance, a little more personality, and a little more moral fiber.

Jeff

December 9th, 2010
11:02 pm

And by the way, Meyer supporters, ask yourself this: do you think for one minute that YOU or even Meyer himself would let an animal like Chris Rainey anywhere NEAR your daughter or his daughter?

I didn’t think so.

He should have been thrown so far off the Gator football team that he was in another area code. Had it been me — an average, slow white kid — I would be in jail right now. But Rainey, a privileged athlete, had powerful Coach Meyer in his corner, so he basically skated after threatening a woman’s life.

Glad to see that ol’ Urban has his priorities straight.

I HOPE for Meyer’s sake that he takes some time away for reflection, rest and re-prioritizing, and maybe he’ll come back a better coach — and a better MAN — in the future.

JTD

December 9th, 2010
11:28 pm

Urban Myer is just trying to suck more money out of UF by holding out days after his contract negotiation, he will anounce in a week he is not resigning after they bump up his pay… This is the way of the devil AKA Urban Myer…

Robin Huud

December 9th, 2010
11:34 pm

Your article is both silly and revolting. You think new media can sit behind a computer and just write whatever they want about any sports situation…true or false…and then just be ignored or whatever. What about responsible journalism…something you never see anymore. I think if a reporter writes incorrectly he should be banned from practice, the team, etc. Stop taking up for the hack journalist who cover sports these days.

The Blog Police

December 9th, 2010
11:47 pm

“the way of the devil AKA Urban Meyer’

Wow. And you thought Urban Meyer lacked balance and perspective. Yeeeaahh, riiiiiight. Urban Meyer’s the Antichrist.

Get a grip.

Starring Chris Rainey as"The Elephant Man"

December 9th, 2010
11:49 pm

“I’m not an animal. I’m a man.”