Meyer’s motivation, priorities changed at Florida

By Adam Silverstein
August 8, 2012

In a feature written by Wright Thompson for ESPN The Magazine centered on new Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer’s ability to focus on his health and family while simultaneously trying to rebuild another top-tier college football program, a number of interesting notes about his time with the Florida Gators are revealed.

While most of Meyer’s story at Florida has been divulged over the past year through stories and a video series produced by Sports Illustrated, the notes below provide greater detail into some of the issues he faced while with the Gators.

» Following the 2007 season, which was marked by four losses (including in bowl game) and quarterback Tim Tebow winning the Heisman Trophy, Meyer “confided to a friend that anxiety was taking over his life and he wanted to walk away.”

» After winning the 2009 BCS National Championship, Meyer ran off the field with the trophy “and locked himself in the coaches’ locker room. He began calling recruits as his assistants pounded on the door, asking if everything was okay.”

» Meyer became a maniacal perfectionist: “He lost even when they won, raging at his coaches and players for mistakes, demanding emergency staff meetings in the middle of the night. He stopped smiling. Days ended later and later. He texted recruits in church. He ignored his children, his fears realized: He’d become That Guy.”

» The DUI arrest of defensive end Carlos Dunlap four days before the 2009 SEC Championship started a “downward spiral” for Meyer. “After the campus police officer delivered the news about Dunlap, Meyer went to the office, overcome, driving in the dark. That week, everything came apart.”

» Meyer was consumed with going undefeated with the Gators. “All of a sudden, every step, every time I had a cup of coffee, every time I woke up in the morning and shaved, it was all about shomehow getting a team to go undefeated at Florida,” he said.

» Meyer admits that his priorities changed in his final years with the Gators. While on the phone with a coach who was asking his advice about what to do in regards to a troubled player, Meyer says he would have expelled the player when he was at Bowling Green but at the end of his tenure at Florida probably would have kept him in the fold.

Thompson goes into greater detail on Meyer’s life, transition out of and back into the coaching profession and how he is balancing his life these days, so be sure to check out the entire feature if you wish to read more.

Photo Credit: ESPN


  1. gatorboi352 says:

    Yeah whatever, that dude’s a joke and realized no Tebow no Percy = no championship. The more I hear the less I believe, especially knowing a few of the team players personally from Urban’s years.

  2. Tractorr says:

    This is why I don’t think he will ever be the same coach again. He has either learned to let stuff go in which case it will be hard replicate the success he had, or he will not and burn out. Either way I think we have seen Meyer’s peak. As I wish the man no ill will I hope it is the former, but I think he will only be an above average coach in that mode not the great coach we had the pleasure of seeing for a couple of years.

  3. cline says:

    Not much groundbreaking here, too bad no one drove Dunlap home that night.

  4. Rusty says:

    Knowing some of his former players, this is exactly what I have heard happened. He lost control. I for one have chosen not to be the crazy ex-girlfriend that hates him, his new girlfriend (OSU), and wishes him ill-will. I am glad to have had him coach at UF, enjoyed his victories, and wish him the best (except when they play the Gators). He was a hell of a coach for us, and it sucks to have seen him lose control like he did.

    On another note, I am also excitec to see Muschamp taking over and cleaning house as needed. We will be back in the top 5 next year.

  5. G2 says:

    Think Meyer was wound a little tight if you know what I mean. Sucks he had to crash the program like he did. Can take 5 years to get things back on the right track. If the senior class stays put next year might be really special. Wish Saban would have a similar breakdown!!

  6. SaraGator says:

    I laughed aloud when I read this, “Those close to Meyer say he lives in his head, with a constant interior monologue, which is why he’ll zone out at dinner with his kids or start calling people he knows by the wrong name.”

    Explains why he speaks about himself in the 3rd person.

    Frankly, I’m over him. He was hired to do a job and he did. Very well. Now that he’s moved on, I don’t have to feel anything for him. I just feel bad for Shelly. She is married to a man who can’t leave his mistress.

  7. Daniel M. says:

    Mixed feelings here. I will always appreciate the way UF dominated, that was truly a special time. But then I reflect on the interview he did in which he assured Gator Nation that he would be here for a very long time. That he deeply loved the University of Florida and Gainesville. I don’t see how that changes even with health issues. I guess he painted himself into a competitive corner and felt no way out. Still, leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I feel duped.

  8. Tractorr says:

    I still think he is never going to be what he was for those couple of years so we wont’ be missing much. I think he moved to another job so from the beginning he can do less. He is trying to pile some money away for retirement and win a few Big 10 championships but I would bet money he doesn’t win the big one again.

  9. G2 says:

    Don’t think he has the fire anymore so we aren’t really missing anything. Sure they got a bump in recruiting with him on board but don’t think that works long term. He needs another Tebow for that and he comes along once in a lifetime.

  10. Lee says:

    After reading the whole article, I can only think how much smarter Steve Spurrier is than Urban Meyer

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