I grew up in Gainesville, home of the Gators. I have seen how the city has changed and how one man helped Florida turn the corner in college football. Urban Meyer. However, the hardest thing to understand is why such an successful head coach would leave after just six years. So I have waited a good amount of time before writing on this subject. Please don’t think I am bashing Urban Meyer, because sure I was upset when he left and then took over Ohio State within 1 year of leaving. However, you can’t discount that he was still the greatest Florida coach of all time up until this point.
So while at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer’s Gators played 29 ranked teams in 6 years. Which is 4.8 per season. 3 of the seasons it was 6 games against ranked teams. Now we take a look at his other head coaching jobs, At Bowling Green he went 17-6 over 2 seasons and never played one ranked team. He was then hired by Utah where he went 22-2 over 2 seasons and played 2 ranked teams, one was in a bowl game. At this point he was hired at Florida where he went 65-15 and played 29 of those against ranked teams. Now he is the head coach of Ohio State and currently undefeated at 22-0. However, only 5 games have been against ranked teams. So as you can see in just under 6 season (6th season isn’t over) his team played 8 ranked teams. Yet, at Florida his team played 29 ranked teams.
So my feeling is that the stress of playing so many ranked teams got to Urban Meyer. The more the Gators won and the hype grew it became harder to control players which he didn’t know how to deal with correctly. He was trying to figure out how to keep winning and it took a toll on his body and he need to get away from that. You could tell that he didn’t want to leave Florida which is why he came back. Once again in December of 2010 Urban Meyer said he was retiring, giving the same reason as the first time: family and health.
Now during this Ohio State was dealing with there own problems with players selling items. Ohio State’s coach stepped down and people threw Urban Meyer’s name into the hat. I just wondered how someone could retire because of stress and then comeback so fast? So this is when I felt he was telling the truth. No matter how much bias people have in college football he was leaving an college football giant in the Southeastern Conference to go to another college football giant Ohio State but not in the Southeastern Conference. This gives Meyer the chance to use everything he learned at Florida to create a National Title contender every year. Just win one or two tough games each year and he is golden. Remember he won two titles but never went undefeated to do it. He has already went undefeated at Ohio State and looking to repeat.
So as a lifelong Gator , I can’t fault Urban Meyer for jumping ship to help himself and remove stress from his life. He will always have stress as a coach but it can be reduced but some coaches just don’t know how to walk away to get that and Meyer did. Plus , in the end he gets his dream job. I will and hopefully the Gatornation will always be thankful for Urban Meyer putting us into major elite status.