Florida football coach Urban Meyer has announced that he’s done at the university after the team’s bowl game against Cincinnati. Over the last few weeks, he was admitted to the hospital several times because of chest pains and has been found to have a heart muscle defect that isn’t life-threatening. So after five years, two national championships, and 1,123 guys who run sub-4.2 second 40-yard dashes, Florida must yet again find a new coach.
It’s weird to think we’re only five years removed from the Ron Zook Era at UF, considering how much success the school has had since that point, that Ron Zook has been at Illinois for that exact amoung of time, and that nearly all of Meyer’s success at Florida is almost solely attributable to Tim Tebow, who is a fourth-year senior.
Make no mistake, Meyer is a great coach, but the timing couldn’t be worse for Florida. They’re losing the most recognizable and famous athlete in the school’s history, are a year removed from a national title, and now they must find a new coach too. Hopefully, they don’t screw it up like they did after Steve Spurrier left for the NFL.
The only things left to talk about are 1) if “health concerns” are really the reason Meyer is leaving at this point and 2) who the f*ck Florida is going to find to replace a coach who has won everywhere and only took five years to become a legend.
A summary of the conspiracy theories surrounding Meyer’s departure:
1.Meyer knows his program is about to be investigated by the NCAA, so he realized he’d rather leave now than be disgraced. Basically, that he’s pulling a modified Calipari.
This one is plausible, given how many coaches have done similar things in recent years, but to have seemingly legit health concerns AND an investigation coming at the same time? Dunno.
2.Meyer is taking a little time off and is taking a shot at an NFL head-coaching gig after the season is over.
Also totally possible since Meyer has pretty much accomplished everything anyone can do in college football and he’s known as a total career climber. I mean it’s really hard to top Tim Tebow and two national championships. So why even try? The only way we’ll know how this one plays out is what jobs are available this offseason and whether Meyer decides to take the year off first or not.
3. Urban Meyer is just quitting so IU can fire Bill Lynch and hire him.
I may have made that one up, but that would be f*cking sweet, wouldn’t it?
4. That Urban Meyer really is sick and needs a break.
These guys, at least the ones who win regularly, absolutely kill themselves with their jobs. There’s so much to being a college football coach these days that takes a guy’s full attention. Guys like John Gruden and Pete Carroll, coaches with legendary work ethics who manage to not ruin their health and/or their personal lives, are very, very rare. Maybe Urban Meyer, despite all his success, just isn’t one of those guys.
As to who might want the Florida job in Meyer’s absence, well, there pretty much isn’t a coach in America who wouldn’t want that job. In just the few hours since the announcement, I’ve heard the following names bandied about: Bob Stoops, Mark Stoops, Dan Mullen, Bobby Petrino, and Mark Mangino. Try to guess which one of those guys isn’t really a candidate.
My only advice is to not to hire a guy just because he runs a similar system to Urban Meyer. If they want to end up like the Chargers, stuck with a crap coach with amazing players, fine. I’m just saying.
This should get very, very interesting in the next few weeks.