I have at least a dozen other projects to work on today, but I thought I should take a few moments to address the latest “Meyer to Ohio State” rumors, mainly to members of Gator Nation. I’m not one to take decisions made in sports personally, the reason being that I understand sports is a business. Yes, even college sports. In fact, college football is big business.
The days of the Schembechler’s, Hayes’s, Bowden’s, Schnellenberger’s, etc. are long gone. I’m not saying a coach with that tenure won’t come along again, but as huge a business college football has become, I find those coaches will come along very few and far between.
I could bring up Nick Saban or Brian Kelly, but I’d like to focus on the reason for this post: Urban Meyer.
In 1985, Meyer became a graduate assistant at Ohio State, a position he held for two years. After that, he spent 13 years as an assistant – two at Illinois State, six at Colorado State, and most notably, five at Notre Dame.
In 2001 he got his first head coaching gig at Bowling Green, orchestrated one of the greatest turn-around’ in college football going 8-3 in his first season. After two seasons, he left for greener pastures at Utah.
He finished his first season 10-2 and was named the MWC Coach of the Year and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year, the first Utes head coach honored with the title. The next season, he led Utah to 12-0 record, capped off with a BCS bid (something never been accomplished by a non-AQ since the formation of the BCS in 1998) and victory in the Fiesta Bowl. He once again was named MWC Coach of the Year, and added several national Coach of the Year honors to his resume.
In the wake of the tremendous 2004 season at Utah, both Florida and Notre Dame vied for his services. He ultimately chose the Gators.
We all know what happened in the six seasons at the helm in Gainesville: one Heisman winner, one SEC East Division title, two Conference titles, two National Championships, and two controversial retirements.
When Meyer retired the first time in December 2009, citing health and family concerns, not only Gator Nation, but the entire country was stunned. The next day, he changed “retired” to “leave of absence”, but by the spring of 2010 he was back as the skipper. A couple months later, Urban Meyer was named Coach of the Decade by Sports Illustrated.
The 2010 season was “rough” for the Gators; Florida ended the regular season 7-5 and second in the SEC East. Almost a year after his first announcement, Meyer retired again, citing health and family concerns as his reason once more. His final game as head coach was a 37-24 victory over Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
He walked away from Florida Field, and into the Bristol Studios.
Did anyone really think that he would never coach again? That he was finished coaching forever – at the tender age of 46? I’m sorry, I didn’t. I knew he would never be on a Florida sideline ever again, but I truly felt that he would be on somebody’s. My initial feeling was that after a couple years, Notre Dame would come calling and he would answer.
Tattoo-Gate changed everything. Tressel was out and an interim head coach, Luke Fickell, was in. I never felt the Buckeyes would hire from within, and as the Ohio State season progressed – without a permanent offer to Fickell, the more I believed Urbs was their guy.
When the rumors spread like wildfire this morning, the only shock I had was people’s reaction. The things I read on twitter were not only mind-numbing, but disturbing. No matter how angry I am, no matter how much I despise a player or a team, I have never and will never wish ill will upon them.
Your passion for your school or team is personal. But when that passion becomes psychotic, it’s time to re-evaluate your life.
Who cares if Urban Meyer retired due to health and family reasons? It’s a year later, he’s changed his mind. Guess what? He’s allowed to.
Three teams in ten years. Many people don’t respect that. I guess those people stay at their own jobs for 30 years, which is commendable. You may not respect the man, but you have to accept that the success he brought to those three teams in that decade is insurmountable. His record over that period of time is 104-23; including one undefeated and two one-loss seasons. One of those National Championships he won with “somebody else’s players”.
I’m not treating this morning’s news as if my dad was getting remarried after a divorce from my mom. Frankly, I don’t care if, when, or where Urban Meyer coaches. I’m thankful for the six seasons, Tim Tebow, and the National Championships. A year later, I’ve moved on and so has the University of Florida. If we can move on, why can’t he?
Dory LeBlanc, covers Gator sports for Gators First and BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You can follow Dory on twitter @DoryLeBlanc