BREAKING NEWS: Florida Gators head football coach Urban Meyer retires

Florida Gators head football coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement from college football on Wednesday and a press conference will be held by the University of Florida including athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen at 6 p.m.

“I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and, during that time, my primary focus has been helping my teams win titles,” Meyer said in an official statement released by the school. “I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I am a fierce competitor to my core. 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. The decision to step down was a difficult one.

“But after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I’ve been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports. I know how fortunate I am to be in a position to make this choice and to have a family that is as loving and supportive as my amazing wife and children have always been.”

Meyer, who will coach his final game with the Gators in the 2011 Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011, reportedly informed Foley of his decision over the weekend. The duo finalized the resignation on Tuesday.

“I am enormously grateful to the University of Florida and our tremendous fans for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the football program,’’ Meyer said. “The support provided by school president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley has been an invaluable part of all that we have been able to accomplish over the last six years I have exceptional regard for my coaching staff who have always shared my passionate commitment to winning and to guiding the development of the young men of Florida football.

“Most important, I will be forever grateful to the student-athletes I have had the honor to coach and from whom I have learned so much. I will profoundly miss coming to campus every day to coach this team, but I will always be a Gator at heart, and I am confident that the program will continue to reflect the highest ideals of the University of Florida and collegiate sports.”

He is coming off his least productive year at Florida, finishing the regular season with a 7-5 (4-4 SEC) record even though the Gators brought in arguably the nation’s top recruiting class in the offseason.

Meyer leaves Florida having complied a 64-15 (36-12 SEC) record, two BCS National Championships, three BCS bowl game appearances, two SEC Championships in three appearances, and – at one point – a school-record 22-game winning streak. His .810 winning percentage is the best in UF history, he became the first coach in FBS history to post consecutive 13-win seasons, and he is the only coach to post three 13-win seasons in a four-year span.

Named “Coach of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated and the Sporting News, Meyer is the first coach ever to win two BCS National Championships and is one of five coaches to win a pair of national titles in his first four years at a school.

Meyer coached a Heisman Trophy winner in Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, a No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in QB Alex Smith (at Utah) and has had 26 Gators selected to the NFL Draft since taking over the team. Seven Florida players have been first-round picks under Meyer including a school-record-tying three in 2010.

Foley also shared his early thoughts on Meyer’s retirement.

“When I first came to Florida in 1976, all anybody wanted to do here was win one Southeastern Conference championship,’’ Foley said. “As good of a coach as he is, he’s a better person. He’s given Gator fans and this program memories of a lifetime. When you win 22 games in a row and have back-to-back 13-win seasons, two national championships, it’s hard to quantify.

“People just need to understand what he did. Winning two national championships is really hard. He fell in love with the Florida Gators, he loves this place, and he’ll always be a part of our history. It was our privilege to have him as our football coach.’’

After falling to Florida State on Nov. 27, Meyer gave no indication that he would be leaving the program anytime soon.

“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we would be that far down – but we are,” he said. “How do you build up a program? I’ve done it a few times. You build it up with tough players, tough coaches, and you got to play better. You have to have a plan to win. […] With that said, we’re going to be rebuild it right though, not wrong. We’re going to rebuild it right.”

Asked on Nov. 18 to clarify his status for next year, Meyer assured the media that he would be returning to the sidelines for the 2011 season. “Oh yeah. One hundred percent. Absolutely,” he said.

OGGOA will continue updating this story. Stay tuned.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

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70 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Florida Gators head football coach Urban Meyer retires”

  1. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    @Robert-

    That’s a great idea too. I almost forgot about Strong. I think either him or Mullen would be great fits

  2. CH says:

    @ Tim – you are an idiot
    Meyer is the man and will always be welcome at UF. If he wants to stick around and help keep recruits, I don’t see what harm it could do. Even the winnest coach in college football right now has respect for Meyer. What new coach would tell meyer to get out of the facitilty? Come on guys. Don’t over react.
    As for Dan Mullen, I’m just not that impressed. I know MSU has a victory over Urban Meyer, but Dan Mullen didn’t win that game. Urban Meyer lost that game. Please – there are so many other great coaches available that Dan Mullen doesn’t compare. Send him to miami.
    Just like everyone else, I have a wish list, but I’ll trust Foley after he’s landed donavan and meyer. His only mistake has really been zook. So as long as he doesn’t pull zook out of the hat again – I’m on board for whomever he signs.
    GO GATORS. GOOD LUCK TO MEYER
    SO LONG ADAZI….what was his name?

  3. Tim says:

    I think it’s amusing that some of you separate Meyer from Addazio. He’s the guy Meyer indorsed as his stand-in when he took some time off earlier this year. The guy that ran the offense that Meyer brought here. I’ve said this 1000 times, It’s not like Meyer shows up on Saturday and says, “So what’s the plan.” When you are calling for Addazio’s job and booing Addazio, that’s no different than directing your anger directly at the head man. I also feel it’s no different than directing it at the kids because they think it’s their fault and they aren’t performing the plays the coaches have installed (that’s another point). This staff didn’t need to be booed and ridiculed to know that 7 -6 was a bad year. Meyer didn’t need to the fans to publically call for Addazio’s job to know changes had to be made.

    No one suggested that the coaches read OGGA and see the fans comments, but they hear the boos, they hear about the animosity of the fans, and they’ve got to think to themselves, “Gee, I’ve won two titles and kicked butt around here for 5 of 6 years. I’ve got a bunch of young kids, a bunch of new coaches, and I’m treated like this after one bad year.”

    There’s a reason Stoops isn’t coming here. It’s the same reason Spurrier left. He even made the comment, “I guess 10-2 isn’t good enough for the Gators anymore…”

    Anyway, you can misinterpret my comments all you want. It SUCKS this coach is leaving he’s a damn good coach. And you can say what you want about his assistant coaches, but I remember people calling for Dan Mullen’s job also during the 2005 and most of the 2006 season. Now we can’t wait to have him back.

    The good news is, the program has a lot of money, a strong recruiting base, and when we are winning….great fans. I have every confidence in the world that Foley will make a solid decision.

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    I am with you other guys who think Charlie Strong may be the guy!! Mullen is NOT a big enough name nationally as a head coach (don’t attack me – I know he is a great recruiter, but he was recruiting players to play for Meyer). We need either a bigger name than Mullen (Stoops) or a Charlie Strong that can get into south Florida and recruit the tough kids that wanted to play for Randy Shannon. Shannon’s departure and the UM job still open can be a recruiting gold mine IF we get the right guy, but that is not Mullen, I don’t believe. Don’t forget that the new HC needs to retool the defensive coaches too – how sweet if Stoops stole his bro from fsu!!:)

  5. Tim says:

    CH I think you need to reread my posts. I’ve been blasting the whiney fans. NOT all the fans, just the whiney ones. Funny how some people get offended by that. Must have something to do with what kind of fan THEY think they are.

    I had one comment to some guy that said, “He’s not sad to see Meyer go.” I asked that guy to tell me his expectations for the next coach if he didn’t think Meyer did a good job. So you do some checking up before twisting my words around.

  6. dlatham21 says:

    tim—-
    the age is 23 and i know much more about football than you think. most likely i know more than you about football. that being said. what i meant about sayin i am not sad to see urban go is……you could clearly see that he didnt have the same fire this past year. if he isnt guing to coach with that same fire and passion that he had during our run then he needs to go. i dont care about the past. it is about winning championships in the future. you cant come in and win a couple championships and then just quit working hard and having these horrible seasons and say well i did win you two championships in three years..yea you did but what are you going to do now????

  7. zurbo says:

    endorsed* …did you even go to UF?

  8. dlatham21 says:

    and my expectations are someone to come in and if things are going wrong, have the nerve to bench a player or fire a coach. not waste a whole season on a player because of his name or on a coach because he is a good friend……

  9. Mr2Bits says:

    Dan Mullen =’s Ron Zook.

    If we hire Mullen, Foley is showing that he is very lazy in this process and just wants someone in here ASAP. Mullen would not be a good choice for our program.

  10. Jazzygator88 says:

    Chip Kelly from Oregon would be a good fit. I wish Urban the best we had a great run under his leadership. His heart was not in it anymore and maybe he should have left last year when he first retired. Florida is a great program and perhaps the best college head coaching positon in the nation. We will have our choice of the best coaches.

  11. Scooterp says:

    dlatham – it was one freaking season. your going to blast the guy on the eve of him stepping down by defining his career for one season?!?!?! Lombardi, Bellechik, Carroll, the Bear, Knute, Dean Smith, Coach K, Phogg, Noll, Landry, Shula etc….. all had down years trying to figure out what pieces fit.

  12. dp says:

    As long as whatever coach sweeps Addazio out the door I think we will be fine

  13. Ken says:

    Even though Foley said he hadn’t contacted anybody, It would be interesting if John Gruden took his name out of the Miami job last week because he got wind through his Florida connections that this job might be available

  14. Tampa Tom says:

    TIM TEBOW for Coach

  15. G8RGR8 says:

    Hear is our order; 1st Dan Mullen 2nd Gus Malzon 3rd Charlie Strong 4th Bob Stoops 5th Steve Spurrier ( all former Gators) one of these men will be coaching in 2011………

  16. G8RGR8 says:

    We need to RELAX and BREATH!

  17. kt says:

    one name:
    Kerwin Bell

  18. gatorade7 says:

    Options I’d really like: Steve Spurrier (with Kerwin Bell as OC and coach in waiting),Bobby Stoops
    Options I’d like: John Gruden, Jim Harbaugh, Brian Schotenheimer
    Options I’d kind of like: Charlie Strong (with Randy Shannon as DC), Peterson,Patterson,Mike Mularkey
    Options I’d least like: Dan Mullen
    Options I’d only hire as a coordinator: Leach, Malzhan,Kerwin bell, Randy Shannon

  19. Ken says:

    1 bob stoops, 2 gary patterson 3 strong, 4 chris peterson, 5 gruden

    randy shannon? NFW! did you see him when he played UF? He looked like a deer caught in the headlights all night long, and has most games since

    strong before mullen because strong has huge ties to recruiting the florida bass, moreso than mullen

  20. Ken says:

    and chip kelly would be near the top of that list as well, except terrible timing since he is in the BCS champ. game… Harbaugh would be interesting, but he runs a totally different offense, might scare driskel off in a pro set