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Meyer Steps Down
December 27, 2009 - Al Stephenson
The college football world was abuzz yesterday afternoon as word that Urban Meyer was stepping down as Florida's football coach swept the nation. Could this really be happening? Why is he leaving? Everyone wanted to know and unlike the Tiger Woods saga, the reasons became readily apparent.
Urban Meyer had a record of 95-18 in nine seasons as a Division I head coach. His winning percentage is tops among coaches who have been on the job for a minimum of five seasons. His five year resume at Florida includes a 56-10 mark with national championships in 2006 (perhaps Buckeye fans remember that title game) and 2008. With most of his team returning this season, another title was not only possible, it was expected.
Therein lies the crux of the problem. Meyer is quitting because he is concerned with his health. He has had chest pains - not just recently - but for the last few YEARS. Supposedly he is in no immediate jeopardy, but if he continues the path he is on...
Like most college football coaches, Meyer is a 24 and 7 guy. His life is consumed by football year round. The major colleges take in millions of dollars annually. Coaches are paid millions of dollars a year to make sure that revenue continues. That is assured by winning. That is a lot of pressure to live up to, so you spend countless hours making sure that someone else is not outworking you. It's tough and it takes a toll.
Some non Florida fans are thinking - all right, Meyer's gone. Maybe Florida will not be as good. Many Florida fans are thinking - oh no, now who are we going to get to replace him. His health is a personal issue.
Florida will certainly replace him. He is just a cog in the monstrous machine that is college football. Players come and players go. Coaches come and they also leave. Life moves on and the next coach will be put under the same pressure. Just win baby, just win. He will have to withstand the same unrealistic expectations that coaches at all major institutions face. Only one team can win the national championship each year. Yet fans and administrators from each school expect it to be them - at least once in a while.
9-3 is not good enough, right Earle Bruce?
I applaud Urban Meyer's decision to put his health and family first. I hope that he gets his health back. Whether he will ever get back into coaching again remains to be seen. I know it is too much to ask that we scale back our expectations for our favorite team. That just isn't going to happen.
The view from my seat would suggest that in the next few days you will read again and again that Meyer's resignation shocked the college football world.
What's shocking is that this sort of thing doesn't happen much more often!
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