While it was surprising to hear Coach Meyer had decided to resign as Head Coach at Florida, the announcement didn’t come with the shock and dismay as last year.
It’s been obvious to many that Urban was not the aggressive, engaged, and fiery leader he was when he came to Gainesville in 2005. Whether the reason is his health or simply being burned out, he made the tough, and necessary, decision to step down and allow Jeremy Foley time to move the program forward as best as possible. It seems that some reports are starting to come out that, indeed, his health is partly to blame, so good for him to take care of himself.
As time goes by, upon reflection Gator fans will realize once again what a fundamental change Meyer made to the entire football program from where it was at the end of the Zook Error. The Gator Walk, the new “Front Door” to Gator Football at the Swamp, the Gator Brick walkway, having the team come over to the band after each game for the alma mater and fight song……great stuff. Coach Meyer worked his ass off in all phases — recruiting, coaching, mentoring — everything. What a tremendous ambassador for Florida athletics AND the entire university in general.
And thinks to Shelley Meyer as well. She has been a great supporter of not just Gator Football, but her own family as well. It can’t be stressed enough how challenging the life of a coach’s wife can be, and Urban has said many times what a wonderful person she is and how much of a help she has been throughout his coaching career.
It will be a wild ride the next few weeks as a new Head Coach is announced, and most of the old staff gets replaced. It’s always a strange time, as it’s hard not to get attached to at least some coaches, but that’s the nature of college football.
This isn’t the first rodeo for Foley, Bernie Machen, and the inner circle. The new hire may be an established coach, or perhaps a boom-or-bust type of younger guy, but there’s really no reason to start any hand-wringing or angst once the announcement is made. Just throw your support behind the new Head Gator, and hope for the best.
The Florida job is one of the elite positions in America……it’s more than likely that a selection will be made from an impressive list of candidates. The first real task for the new guy will be to keep the 2011 recruiting class together, as well as keeping the current roster intact as much as possible. There probably will be some attrition, but we’ll have to be patient and let things shake out.
Finally, it is being reported that Coach Meyer will remain associated with the Athletic Dept. in some capacity for at least the next year or so, and I say ‘great!’. I do not feel he will be seen as any sort of threat to the new Head Coach, but instead an invaluable resource and confidant.
I’ll be back later to discuss the hire of the new Head Gator and staff.