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Entries in Urban Meyer (6)


Urban Meyer: Who Said What On Twitter?

Picture of Urban Meyer

One Great Season

Urban Meyer has set a great example as a championship coach. I hope he can stick to his decision to step down and set another great example as a family man who's OK with leaving the limelight. We've seen far too many people in sports hang on a few too many years, their best days long behind them. But here we have a chance to watch an ultra-competitive guy, a proven winner at an elite level, still in the thick of his prime, do the same away from college football.

Anyway, those are my two cents. Here's what others were saying on Twitter Wednesday afternoon about Meyer's decision to walk away from the University of Florida:

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No. 5: Florida Gators

Urban Meyer

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Monday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 5 is Florida.

One Great Season

Everyone knows Florida's Urban Meyer can recruit, he can coach and he can win big football games. But he's never been asked to coach a team after a health scare, a leave of absence, a reversal of the leave of absence and then the departures of Tim Tebow and 10 other starters.

Meanwhile, John Brantley might be the nation's best-known quarterback never to have been a regular starter. He fills Tebow's big shoes in 2010, but those in the Gator camp have been high on him since his decorated prep career and they expect him to man the quarterback controls well this year.

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Coaches Can Learn From Colleagues' Missteps

Urban Meyer

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- Five coaches were at the center of five different types of embarrassments since November, and if any of their colleagues owns a television, then there's no excuse for such missteps to be repeated in the near future.

Most recently, Urban Meyer's family-first flip-flop initially turned the college football world upside down. Many admired the strength of a high-profile sports figure to swallow a dose of perspective and step down while at the top of his game.

Then Meyer slept on it, supervised a sizzling Gators workout and had a change of heart. Perhaps his family isn't as important to him as he'd stated just the night before.

Brian Kelly

Three weeks ago, Cincinnati's Brian Kelly surprised nobody when he left the 12-0 Bearcats to take the job he'd long coveted at Notre Dame. After being named as a possible Charlie Weis replacement since early in the 2008 season, the usually PR-savvy Kelly had plenty of time to devise a healthy exit strategy. And even though Cincinnati fans couldn't blame him for taking arguably the best opportunity in coaching, they'll all agree that Kelly could have handled that situation far better than he did.

Also around that time, Florida State decided once and for all that Bobby Bowden was not going to return for another season. The school that once had no chair in the musical world of college football eventually kept a seat at its head table for most of Bowden's 34 years in Tallahassee. But the last few seasons were disappointing by the standards FSU had set for itself ... thanks to no one more than Bowden.

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Bowden caught plenty of criticism -- much of it deserved -- for not knowing when to step down on his own, but he wanted to keep coaching and the university that he helped make rich finally pushed him out the door. No ceremony, no formal announcement that would end with ovations, tears and hugs. Just a press release handed out at the weekly news conference. Stay classy, T.K. Wetherell.

That same week, Mark Mangino, who made Kansas football matter in the Big 12 in recent years, resigned two weeks after the school announced publicly that it would investigate charges that the coach physically and verbally abused some of his players.

Now I have no problem with old-school, Bobby Knight-style discipline. There used to be a time when a coach was able to grab or push a player to emphasize a point. But this is 2009 and our soft culture no longer allows for that, and some of the things Mangino is alleged to have said were about as classy as, well, T.K. Wetherell's absence from Bobby Bowden's final press conference.

If you want proof that it's difficult to be a disciplinarian, just ask South Florida coach Jim Leavitt. Bulls administrators began an investigation into his conduct recently after a player's father told AOL Fanhouse that Leavitt physically abused his son. But the player in question, Joel Miller, told ESPN that Leavitt didn't hurt him.

"He only grabbed my shoulder pads to motivate me," Miller told Joe Schad. After Miller was quoted in the report, his father backed off his own original comments.

And who will forget Tommy West's November meltdown? At his farewell press conference, the Memphis coach pleaded for better support and encouragement from the school, its fans and even the local media. Sure coaching can be rough and you are under the microscope, but isn't that the nature of the business? Your generous contract typically brings certain expectations, and if you don't meet them, you get fired. To West's credit, he did take the Tigers to five bowl games in six years, so perhaps West was hoping for some leniency. Which of course he did not get.

What lessons can be learned here? Other than "Don't get into coaching," I'd say the rules that apply to life also apply in coaching. Be honest, mean what you say, do your best and keep things in perspective. Pretty simple, right?


Florida Coach Urban Meyer Says "Later" To Gators

Urban Meyer

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- This time of year often has folks expressing gratitude for their health and well-being.

But instead of returning an ill-fitting sweater on Saturday, Urban Meyer spent the day after Christmas exchanging his job as Florida football coach for a renewed "focus on my health and family," according to a report on

The university issued a statement Saturday afternoon in which Meyer cited his health as the primary reason for his decision to quit after five years as coach of the Gators. He's expected to speak further about his decision at a news conference on Sunday.

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"I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to reevaluate my priorities of faith and family," Meyer said in the statement, according to the ESPN report. Meyer didn't specify any particular health issue, but his boss, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, said he supports the coach's decision.

"I have never seen anyone more committed to his players, his family and his program," Foley said in the statement cited by ESPN. "Above all, I appreciate our friendship."

(this article continues below)


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Meyer, who led the Gators to the 2006 and 2008 national championships, will coach Florida in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati on Jan. 1.

Only 45, Meyer is a three-time national coach of the year who also was named the Best Coach In College Football in a One Great Season poll in November. He compiled a 56-10 record at Florida and is 95-18 in nine seasons as a head coach in a career that includes stops at Utah and Bowling Green.


Below is a quick look at what Twitter users were saying in the hour after the news broke about Meyer:

+ @BFeldmanESPN: "Bizarre to think Bobby Bowden and Urban Meyer leaving coaching in the same year. One for health reasons. One still wanting to coach."

+ @CoachJonesUC: "Our collective thoughts and prayers go out to UC alumnus Urban Meyer and his family."

+ @osgators: "Just talked to a Florida staff member -- Urban was in hospital at least twice this month for chest pains, nausea and sickness."

+ @espn4d: "Names in the immediate post-Meyer rumor mill: Stoops, Petrino, Shanahan, Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong."

+ @edsbs: "If Foley has any sense of humor, he'll hire Ron Zook just to fire him again. It's the only thing that could make us smile at this point."

+ @jemelehill: "Another question: Who benefits more from Meyer's departure -- Nick Saban or Lane Kiffin?"

+ @KanuDawg: "Here's hoping Urban Meyer glares & points at whatever ails him, and it obeys. Get well, motherfucker."

+ @mattminkus: "Biggest winner in Urban Meyer stepping down: PAC 10. SEC will take a hit next yr & Pac 10 will be the strongest conference!"

+ @PeteThamelNYT: "When Urban Meyer told his daughter, Nicki, an 18-year old college freshman the news, she said, 'I get my daddy back.'"

+ @GatorBenPBP: "Urban broke the news to his players after practice tonight. Lots of tears in the room, especially from Tebow."

Brandon Spikes Won't Half-Ass Vandy Suspension

Brandon Spikes

One Great Season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Florida's tough-guy linebacker Brandon Spikes demonstrated a sensitive side Wednesday night when he announced he'll sit out the entire Vanderbilt game Saturday, according to published reports.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Does Spikes' Decision Make Meyer Look Bad?

Coach Urban Meyer's decision Monday to suspend Spikes for only the first half of the No. 1 Gators' next game caused quite the backlash in College Football Nation, and after the criticism heated up over the last 48 hours, Spikes decided enough was enough.

"I feel like things were blowing up," Spikes said in a statement cited by ESPN's Joe Schad. "I feel if I would have played it would be a big thing. I'm just trying to stay out of the way. I'm pretty sure (fellow linebacker Ryan) Stamper's got my back and my teammates support me."

Spikes was seen on video replay sticking his fingers inside the facemask of a Georgia player during Saturday's beatdown of the Bulldogs. reported that Meyer supports Spikes' decision to sit out against Vanderbilt, whose 93rd-ranked offense has scored just 19 touchdowns in nine games this year.

With or without Spikes playing for the nation's No. 2 defense, the 2-7 Commodores don't seem a likely candidate to pull off the upset in Gainesville.


Don't Blame Meyer For His Kentucky Fried Quarterback

One Great Season

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- If your team is ahead, 31-7 with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, is the game in hand?

Most likely.

But is it such a blowout that all your top players should be on the sideline safe and warm so the backups can get some mop-up duty?


YOUR THOUGHTS: Should Tebow Have Still Been In The Game?

Urban Meyer should not be blamed for Tim Tebow's concussion. Injuries come from hard hits, and hard hits are a staple of the game of football.

But in our culture, even without talk radio and the blogosphere -- but far moreso with those faceless forums -- we always need to find fault with a choice that somebody made. We love to assess blame and pile on and criticize long after decisions are made. I've long been a big fan of the sport, and I think I'm pretty knowledgeable, but one thing I've never understood is the venom that infects the opinions and the methods with which college football fans express those opinions.

In the sport of college football, coaches leave their top players in for a number of reasons.

+ They want to step on the jugular of the other team. If they don't, they get criticized for not closing out an opponent.

+ They might want to stretch the margin of victory by just one more touchdown, hoping the larger blowout might be worth another AP vote or, come mid-season, three tenths of a BCS percentage point.

+ They might want to help a Heisman Trophy candidate add a couple more completions or yards to the stat line.

Again, the game was in hand, but a 24-point deficit with 20 minutes to left is hardly insurmountable. Florida itself scored those first 31 points in just the first quarter.

So quit with the blame game. It's unfortunate that a great player and a great kid suffered such a hard hit, but he'll recover and Florida will be a great team again, Meyer will be a great coach again and all will return to normal in the world of college football.