Urban Meyer retires — and this time he means it

Urban Meyer had been contemplating retirement since the weekend.

Urban Meyer had been contemplating retirement since the weekend.

(UPDATED: 6:53 p.m.)

For the second time in as many Decembers, Urban Meyer is retiring.

The hope is that this one lasts more than 24 hours.

He says it’s not about health but rather family. He says it’s not about suddenly losing but rather spending time with his wife and trying to catch up with children, after missing too many of their birthdays and sports events.

“At the end of the day, I feel we’re judged by how you are as a husband and a father,” the outgoing Florida coach said.

Nobody would dispute that. But he had similar words a year ago, as well as a health scare, and pulled a U-turn the next day. That was a mistake.

He says now that his previous retirement was “a knee-jerk reaction” and it came because there was “a lot of emotion in the family.”

Chest pains will do that.

Last December, word leaked out that he had to be hospitalized with chest pains and severe dehydration. On the day after Christmas, he announced he was retiring. Then came 24 hours of “reflection” that cause him to change his mind. Just a thought: Maybe the second decision was the knee-jerk reaction, not the first.

Meyer downplayed his health issues last year, attributing his symptoms to “esophageal spasms.” Collective eyebrows were raised. It appeared the perspective that had led him to step down had quickly left him.

He wasn’t the same person thereafter, and he might not have been the same coach. He took time off following Florida’s bowl game. He vacationed in Hawaii and Rome and Israel. He went to the Masters. That all may sound just and deserved and normal to you. But just and deserved and normal aren’t words often associated with SEC coaches.

He spent significantly less time meeting with recruits during recruiting. Some believe he lacked the same edge that enabled him to win two BCS and SEC titles. Nobody can go through a health scare like that and not be affected by it, particularly somebody so driven and in such a high-pressure field as major college football coaching.

In short: An SEC coach can’t be partially committed.

We may never know to what extent that contributed to the Gators’ significant drop-off this season, but the drop-off was undeniable. It was a difficult year. After national championships in 2006 and 2008 and a loss to eventual BCS champion Alabama in the SEC title game in 2009, Florida finished 7-5. It got drilled at Alabama (31-6), and then lost home games to LSU,  Mississippi State (coached by potential successor Dan Mullen) and South Carolina (coached by predecessor Steve Spurrier).

Hoping to end the regular season on a high note, the Gators traveled to Florida State, a team they had beaten six straight years. Instead, they were smacked 31-7.

Meyer’s vaunted spread offense, which had allowed him to climb through the coaching ranks from Bowling Green to Utah to Florida, was shockingly anemic this season. It finished 79th in the nation, behind the likes of Rice, Tulane, Middle Tennessee State and Toledo. It all was a remarkable drop for a coach who had so much success in Gainesville: two BCS titles, two SEC titles and a 64-15 record in six seasons.

Florida football, Meyer said “has to be fixed. It’s broken a little bit right now.”

He wasn’t ready to make that commitment. He admitted the health scare last year was “a wake-up call,” but denied that’s what this decision was about.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I am a fierce competitor to my core,” he said. “At this time in my life, however, I appreciate the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field.”

Perfect words. Maybe this time they’ll stick.

– By Jeff Schultz


Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

824 comments Add your comment

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:48 pm

Ask and ye shall receive.

Pooh Pooh Platta

December 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

What a doooshk bag!

Old Ball Coach

December 8th, 2010
2:51 pm

He found out it was Tebow and not his coaching that was the result of Florida’s success.

CvilleDawg

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

hahaha, I bet 20 bucks he goes and coaches the broncos.

marc

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

oh I see….if he can’t win it all.. he wants to take his ball and go home….wow.

Steve Spurrier

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

Miss me yet?

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

This just in: Tim Tebow is reportedly crying.

Pepe

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

Sounds good to me…

DawginLex

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

They better hurry up and hire Mullen or the recruits are going to start flying away like the monkeys on the wizard of Oz…………………

SSIDawg

December 8th, 2010
2:52 pm

Good riddance for the SEC! The only SEC coach that didn’t vote Auburn #1 in the poll, really?

04dawg

December 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

Whatever… Give it 3 days.

Jeff ROCKS!

December 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

spider

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

this is old news at least an hour, im surprised the AJC with MR COLLEGE FOOTBALL(what a joke that is) on the their payroll it took ajc so long too report this news

Mulligan

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

That Cam Newton thing has really gotten to him!!

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

Monkies on the Wizard of Oz? They’ll be going slowly up on wires?

Burbank Dawg

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

He’s going to coach in the NFL.

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

I misspelled monkeys didn’t I?

I tried and tried to tell Florida fans with my TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

December 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

Florida is again in transition. CUM is heading back to Ocala Rehab,Inc. for some down time. I suspect that the Texas coach and the Alabama coach will join him. Shhhhhhhhh, let us keep the place quiet.

Tick, tock, tick tock. The clock is also ticking on Nick the Hat Trick Saban. He is looking to get outta Alabama, as Chizk is running him off.

Chizk? FBI will deal with him and Scam Newton.

BigTimeTECHFan

December 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

He found out it was Tebow and not his coaching that was the result of Florida’s success.

How does that explain him going undefeated at Utah?

btgt69

December 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

maybe the dawgs can now win

Dawg_Mike

December 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

I saw it on Twitter- remember, you can’t spell quitter without itter…

GATOR FOREVER

December 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

Fantastic Coach. Yes Tebow was amazing but the other guys were well coached. Not sure what happened this year. Adazzio needs to go and Meyer should have done something about that a long time ago. Wish him all the best and enjoy watching your daughters play volleyball and having time with your entire Family ! GOOOOO GATORS !! 4 ever !

bruce

December 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

Heard the opposing team coach in Outback bowl is returning for another season… how old is he?

Dale

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

He was 9-7 SEC without Tebow.

ALDawg

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Florida could hire Wannstedt, and we would still lose to them. If they hire Mullen, we are doomed.

Light

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

Dawg in the Northwoods

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

If Urban Meyer and Brett Farve are related, maybe he’s just waiting for Jeremy Foley to beg him to come back again.

J Clay

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

This should help convince more of the big 6 that UGA is bringing in this weekend hopefully

BigTimeTECHFan

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Strong leaving Louisville?

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:56 pm

Tebow didn’t play much the first year. Be fair.

Michael

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Let me be the first to say it: FireFloridasNextCoach.com

MURPHY

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Mullen will be the next coach at UF.He will bring Diaz with him to coach the Defense. They will not lose recruits in fact they will gain some unexpected ones.Florida will quickly return to the team they were with Urban.

SECWasteManagement

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Now you can go to Denver and has tug on Tebow once more.

Gene

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Wow. I absolutely despise Meyer (b/c he beat us all the time) but I certainly commend him for choosing his family over football. Maybe if a few of us fans would choose our families over football we’d have a much better outlook on life and realize there’s something bigger. Just sayin’.

SOGADOG

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

Spurrier back to Gainesville?????????????????????????????

CvilleDawg

December 8th, 2010
2:57 pm

well looks like the dawgs are gonna get pagan! theres 1 more d-lineman.

BigTimeTECHFan

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Meyer was great coach, football fans will miss him.

ATL is TigerTown

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Duh. Is anyone in the world surprised by this?

im not buying it

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

im not buying it. i bet he’ll be back by monday. and if he doesnt, it shows you he really is nothing w/out tebow.

Normal

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Who’s Urban Meyer?

Mr. Dawg

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

I guess this means that we’ll always have to assume Dan Mullen was the genius behind his success.

GaBlue

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Gene: “Maybe if a few of us fans would choose our families over football we’d have a much better outlook on life and realize there’s something bigger.”

If you brainwash your children early, you don’t have to choose.

What he will be remembered for

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

In business or in life, we are remembered with how we left the stage. CUM? He left horribly with his December 09, ” I quit, no, I stay”, the SEC Chmap game stomping by Alabama, then that crying routine with Tebow. His 2010 7-5 year and now, a humiliating and likely bowl loss is how the man will be remembered. Sad.

It is over Florida fans. Over.

jarvis

December 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

Spurrier is a hundred years old. Florida doesn’t want his old ass.

hard to imagine

December 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

I don’t like Fla for any reason. But don’t want any health problems. This is good for him and his family and that should be a priority.

Here’s a DAWG fan hoping Mullen doesn’t go south.

Boobie Bowden

December 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

Now Mark Richt can go to Florida. The only way he will ever win in Jacksonville is to change sides.

gtjack

December 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

wow. hate that for Miss St. or Louisville.

Game Time

December 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

Just amazes me how critical some of the douche bags that post here can be. Get a life! Meyer has accomplished more than many of you ever will — but go ahead and bash a guy that wants to enjoy life outside the stresses of big time college football.

Can You Dig It

December 8th, 2010
2:59 pm

When Strong and then Mullen bailed out on him along with four other coaches it didn’t take long for the college football world to find out what a bad coach Meyer truly is…..his arrogance finally caught up to him….good riddance….the SEC will be better off without him….Can You Dig It!

Can it be true?

December 8th, 2010
3:00 pm

I think he was trying to recruit a kid out of Mississippi with a funny pronounced name. Favre????