Urban Meyer speaks at Outback Bowl press event

By Adam Silverstein
December 10, 2010

In Tampa, FL, alongside athletic director Jeremy Foley, Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno and ESPN/ABC color commentator Jon Gruden for a 2011 Outback Bowl press event on Thursday was Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer. Though the event was aimed at promotion for the bowl game and its sponsors, Meyer spent a good portion of his time there answering questions about his recent decision to step down from his position at Florida.

“I’M HERE TO HELP IN ANY WAY”

Though Meyer will not be the head coach of the Gators next year, he is hopeful that he will be able to remain with the program – or the athletic department – in come capacity. How he will do that is currently not known and may be up to his eventual replacement.

“I want to be a part of college football. I don’t know [how]. I’m still working on that. I want to help,’’ Meyer said. “I’ve been asked and requested to remain at Florida for as long as they’ll have me. They’ve been very gracious, and I’m here to help in any way. I’ve got an idea, but we’ll have to wait until the new coach gets here. I still want to help the University of Florida. […] It’s all up to [the new coach]. There will be no ego. For people who know me, it’s all about Florida, helping out. If that’s minimal, it’s minimal.”

Foley was sure to make it clear that Meyer would help in any way – if wanted – but would not impede the Gators from hiring someone who does not want his assistance. “It’s all as good as can be and I think that helps us going forward. I’ll bring that up [to coaching candidates]. He will not do anything around the program where he’s not welcome. He’s smarter than that,” Foley said.

Meyer added that he plans to keep his family in Gainesville, FL, and hopes to stay in the area for “a long time” even though he definitively added, “I’m not coaching next year.”

IT WAS A “YEAR-TO-YEAR” DECISION

With Meyer coming back so suddenly after resigning last season, the general understanding by the public was that he would be back at Florida for good as long as his health held up. However it seemed to be a dirty little secret throughout the entire program that Meyer could very well end his career (at least temporarily) after the 2010 season and that an understanding of that arrangement had been reached previously.

“I wanted to stretch as much as I could because I have an obligation to this program and our coaching staff,” Meyer said. “I couldn’t think for a minute about my secretary, about the video people. That’s all I could think about last year at this time. It’s still hard this year, but at least I think there’s some preparation now that went into it.”

Meyer claims to be “at ease” with his decision “because my boss is at ease and he’s got a plan and I’m doing the best I can to assist with the plan.” He said he would be happy and willing to assist Foley in a search for a head coach, but noted that he would provide his help at request of his boss.

DECISION WAS EASIER THIS TIME AROUND

With the full support of his family and a realization that he could now be the father he always wanted to be in the back of his head, Meyer noted that deciding to step down after this season was easier – but still not easy – on this occasion.

“[Shelley] was great. She was not great last year. That was a really tough deal last year,” he said. “That had a lot to do with this year. I just hope you guys never have to go through what I had to. And if you do, it comes out the other end positive. For me, it came out real positive. I’ve never been closer with my family, stronger in my faith. That was an eye-opener. The relationship I’ve got with my wife and my children, if it’s 1-10, it’s 11.”

QUOTES

Meyer on the recruits: “They’ve been good. Everybody’s waiting. I’ll let them know when I know something.”

Foley on hiring a new head coach: “This is the third time I’ve been through this process, and I understand the intense interest it generates. It’s good. It says a lot about Florida. We’ll be getting into developing candidates. We know the expectations here. We have the same expectations. We know the type of job it is, we know the challenge. We look forward to moving ahead very quickly.”

Gruden joking about Meyer’s future: “I’d like to thank Jim McVay and the Outback Bowl for giving me a ticket back to this stadium. Let me be the first to start the rumor of Urban Meyer to the Denver Broncos. I can say that now because I’m a broadcaster.’’

Gruden serious on Meyer’s future: “I think eventually maybe when his kids grow up, maybe he gets the itch again. But right now, I think he needs to catch his breath. The guy might be really tired, you know. He really might be tired. He won two national titles. The SEC is not for everybody now. It’s tough to win.”

25 Comments

  1. npgator says:

    Lot’s of speculation and everyone is jumping on anything that moves as it relates to who our new coach will be. I hate knowing that FSU is tying to poach in on our recruits but that is the way it goes.

  2. gatorgrad79 says:

    Adam,

    Don’t you think it is critical to have a coach in place to contact the recruits before the dead period begins Dec 20?! If this was really NOT a surprise to Foley surely he has the replacement process well under way (the fact that he and Meyer were so calm at his press conference sort of hints at that, doesn’t it??) Here’s hoping – I think going into the dead period with the offers of our rivals ringing in their ears is not the way to leave our recruiting class…

  3. GG says:

    Adam does STAB stand for “Same Team As Before”?

  4. g8ter27 says:

    I wish we could go ahead and get a coach in here to keep and hopefully even build on the new class. I hear Mullen saying he has noit even been contacted by UF. That is either a lie or we are moving a bit too slow here in my opinion.

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    Funny that Foley, Urbes and Gruden are all hanging out together this week.

  6. John Shanks says:

    Could Meyer be an assistant AD? I could see him following Foley. Not a bad life from what I understand.

  7. Aligator says:

    Relax everyone! We are going to get a great coach and have many great years to come!

  8. David says:

    It seems the new rumor is Chris Peterson of Boise State. Not sure how I feel about that one. Boise Coordinators/coaches haven’t gone on to be too successful. We’ll see.

  9. E-Pain says:

    Rumblings through the department about Elam transferring…heard anything on your end Adam?

  10. CH says:

    Yah I’ll miss “The Glare” but I’m pretty excited about who’s coming in. There are a lot of great coaches available so I’d expect Foley to take a little bit of time, but definately before the dead period. That’s crucial.

  11. npgator says:

    I think it would be ridiculous for anyone to transfer if they don’t even know who will be coming in. But if any player chooses to leave I wish them well and really don’t want them here.

  12. Ken says:

    I think it would be really interesting to get Gruden as HC, and keep Meyer on as recruiting coordinator. That way he would stil be in touch with the recruits, but he could help an NFL coach acclimate to the ins and outs of college recruiting as well as share his established links with the various HS coaches he has formed over the years.

  13. npgator says:

    Elam will be depended on next year so I hope like hell he stays. I know he had an especially tight relationship with Coach Meyer going back to when his brother was at ND. He has to realize that the University didn’t fire coach Meyer but rather he felt he needed to retire for personal reasons.

  14. g8ter27 says:

    I know that some may disagree but i think that Ron Zook should be hired back to to coach the Gators. I am pretty sure we could get him lured away from Illinois. I mean he really loves UF and can recruit. He really wasn’t given a fair chance here and talk about defending his playera???that guy would literally fight for and with them… sorry to anyone who thoought I was serious here, just trying to kill time and entertain myself while waiting to see who we get.

  15. Ken says:

    Are you kidding? most of the arrests under Meyer’s watch were Zook’s recruits. He was given a fair chance … twice.. He was DC under spurrier and did a bad job and was demoted. That is why everyone was stunned when he was hired to be coach in the first place.

  16. Ken says:

    ESPN.com is starting to hear that Chris Petersen is likely the next coach and could be named as early as Wednesday.

  17. g8ter27 says:

    Yes Ken, I was……… sorry about that. That era was one that has not passed far enough in time to even joke about.

  18. Ken says:

    I guess I ought to be able to take a joke…I was a student when we had our “record” 117 violations….

  19. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Ken,

    I was a student ’76 – ’79 when we were too pitful for anyone to worry about us committing any violations (;)

  20. GG says:

    Foley scares me a little. Urb and Donovan were great hires, Zooker not so much.

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