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Phil Sandlin – AP
Florida’s coach Urban Meyer holds up the BCS Championship trophy in Gainesville, Fla. on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009 during a ceremony honoring the team for their win over Oklahoma for the National Championship. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
As Skulls reported earlier, Urban Meyer has retired from the University of Florida. Meyer cites his desire to spend more time with his family as his motivation. Meyer, of course, resigned last season only to retake his post a few days later, and there will be some speculation that that’s what he plans to do again. This time, though, it sounds like he’s for real; Gators AD Jeremy Foley had this to say on that note:
“It’s so much different that it was a year ago,’’ Foley said. “He went through some tremendous issues a year ago. But I see his face now and I see the peacefulness. He’s totally at peace with the decision. He certainly has given every fiber of his body to this university. I’ve seen it every day. The results speak for themselves, but to get those results, how do they happen? That guy has given everything he had to this university.
“It was just time. He wants to spend more time with his family. He’s got daughters who play college volleyball; he’s got a son who is growing up. Urban loves his family. When all is said and done, he loves us, he loves the Gators, he loves football, he loves his players, but his world revolves around his family. I think more than anything else that was the impetus for this.’’
That doesn’t sound like an AD who thinks there’s much of a chance that his coach is going to do a 180, and, at any rate, you have to think that Foley wouldn’t be inclined to put up with a Favre routine if that’s indeed what Meyer has in mind.
What does the resignation of the coach at the SEC East’s premier program mean for Carolina? In the short term, I think it’s a good thing. Florida and Foley will compete for an elite coaching prospect, but as with all regime changes, there will be a transitional period for Meyer’s successor. Players will leave, this season’s recruiting class will take a hit, and, depending on the new hire, schematic changes will take time to implement. With Carolina poised to make another run at Atlanta next season, a weakened Florida may have a tough road to hoe in Columbia next fall.
In the long run, though, this might not be good. Florida was starting to struggle under Meyer, and no Carolina fan can say the he would have minded if the current Gators staff stayed in place. The short list at Florida, it seems, is Bob Stoops and Dan Mullen. Either one will bring a staff that’s superior to what the 2010 Gators had, and I have no doubt that they’re capable of carrying on the winning tradition in Gainesville. That’s bad news for Carolina, of course. Will the Gators get either of these guys? Stoops may be a stretch, but I don’t think he’s out of reach. Stoops has UF ties, and word over the past few years has been that he feels his program in Norman has become stagnant. Like his mentor Steve Spurrier, Stoops is the kind of guy who believes ten years in one place is enough. If the Gators can’t get Stoops, though, I have a hard time believing Mississippi St. can convince Mullen to stick around.