Meyer captured two National Championships in his six years at Florida (2006 and 2008), two Southeastern Conference Championships (2006 and 2008), three SEC Eastern Division crowns (2006, 2008 and 2009) and led UF to six-straight January bowl games, including three BCS bowl games. He was named Sporting News and Sports Illustrated "Coach of the Decade" in December of 2009.
"I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and,
during that time, my primary focus has been making a difference in the
lives of the young men I have been so fortunate to have coached and
building championship programs," Meyer said. "At this time in my
life, however, I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has
demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and
life away from the field. The decision to step down was a difficult
one. But, after spending more than two decades motivating and
celebrating the young men I've been so proud to coach, I relish the
opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their
own respective sports. I know how fortunate I am to be in a position to
make this choice and to have a family that is as loving and supportive
as my amazing wife and children have always been. My family has shared
both the commitment and the sacrifice required to coach at this level
for so long and I would not have enjoyed the success I have had without
Meyer will coach his last game for UF in the Gators' Outback Bowl
matchup vs. Penn State on January 1st in Tampa, Fla.
Meyer continued, "I am enormously grateful to the University of
Florida and our tremendous fans for giving me the incredible opportunity
to lead the Gator football program. The support provided by school
president Bernie Machen and athletics director Jeremy Foley has been an
invaluable part of all that we have been able to accomplish over the
last six years."
"I have exceptional regard for my coaching staff who has always
shared my passionate commitment to winning and to guiding the
development of the young men of Florida football. Most importantly, I
will be forever grateful to the student-athletes I have had the honor to
coach and from whom I have learned so much. I will profoundly miss
coming to campus every day to coach this team, but I will always be a
Gator at heart, and I am confident that the program will continue to
reflect the highest ideals of the University of Florida and collegiate
"It's been an honor and privilege to have Urban Meyer be our football
coach for six years," said Foley. "The championships, the mentoring
of young men and his commitment to the University of Florida have indeed
been special. As good of a coach as he is, he's a better person and a
great friend. He has given everything he has to this institution and we
are grateful for the experiences. It a chapter in our history that is
closing, but I know Urban wants to remain involved with the University
and the Gainesville community. He absolutely loves the Gators."
"As I have said many times, Urban Meyer's integrity and commitment to
his players and the University of Florida are beyond reproach," said
Machen. "He leaves an outstanding legacy, on the field and in the
classroom. I know that all Gators wish nothing but the best for Coach
Meyer as we recognize his extraordinary achievements with a great sense
of pride and appreciation."
He became the first coach in the history of the Football Bowl
Subdivision to post consecutive 13-win seasons (2008 and 2009) and he is
the only coach to post three 13-win seasons in a four-year span.
He was the first coach in the nation to win two Bowl Championship
Series National Championships and is one of only two coaches in the
history of the SEC to win two outright National Championships.
The three-time National Coach of the Year is currently the nation's
active winningest coach with 10 seasons or more, posting 103 victories
against just 23 losses for a .817 winning percentage in his 10 seasons.
He reached 100 wins in just 118 games, the second-fastest number of
games to reach the century mark since 1945. Overall, only five coaches
reached the 100-win mark quicker than Meyer.
Meyer's six-year record at Florida is 64-15 (.810), including a
school-record stretch of 22-straight consecutive wins, the
fourth-longest streak by an SEC team and the longest in the conference
in 15 years. His teams also put together streak of 16-consecutive wins
in SEC games, the second-longest streak in school history. Meyer was
17-2 (.895) against UF's traditional rivals (Tennessee, Georgia,
Florida State and Miami). Among active coaches, Meyer has been the only
head coach to put together three 13-win seasons.
Meyer, 46, holds a 36-12 (.750) mark in SEC play at Florida, which is
the fourth-best SEC winning percentage among head coaches who spent five
years or more in the conference.
Since the SEC's inception in 1933, no coach had begun his SEC career
faster than Meyer. With his 2009 win over Arkansas, Meyer collected his
50th win as an SEC head coach, reaching that mark in just 59 games. That
tied Frank Thomas of Alabama for the fastest to achieve 50 wins as an
SEC head coach.
In 2008, Meyer accomplished the unprecedented feat of knocking off the
BCS No. 1-ranked team in consecutive games, downing Alabama in the SEC
Championship Game before dispatching Oklahoma in the BCS National
Championship Game. Add in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game
victory over Ohio State, and Meyer is the only coach to have defeated
three BCS No. 1-ranked teams in his career.
Meyer owns a 58-7 (.892) record at home in his career, including a 36-5
(.878) mark in The Swamp. Meyer was 11-4 (.733) against top-10 teams at
UF and his Gator teams were ranked at one point in 89-consecutive polls,
including 67 weeks in the top 10 and 16 weeks at No. 1.
There have been 26 Gators selected in the NFL Draft under Meyer,
including a nation's-best nine in 2007 and 2009. Seven Gators have
been first-round draft picks under Meyer and UF has had at least one
first-round pick in each of the last four years. A school-record tying
three Gators were chosen in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Overall, Meyer has coached 81 players who have signed NFL contracts.
Eighty-six of his players have graduated at UF and another nine are
scheduled to graduate on Saturday. Two of those 86 student-athletes were
named among UF's Outstanding Senior Leaders on campus (Chris Leak,
2006 and Tim Tebow, 2009). One hundred and thirty one of his student
athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll at Florida, including
a league-record 37 in 2008. More than 37 percent of his scholarship
players earned above a 3.0 GPA in the Spring of 2009 and Tebow won the
William V. Campbell Trophy last year, also known as the Academic
Meyer is one of two active coaches to win a pair of outright national
championships (2006 and 2008), coach a Heisman Trophy winner (Tebow) and
coach a first-overall draft pick in the NFL Draft (Alex Smith).
Meyer also connected with the fans, student body and The Gator Nation.
He initiated the Gator Walk, a pre-game tradition that had the players
enter the stadium through a tunnel of enthusiastic and vibrant fans two
hours before kickoff. He began the tradition of players signing the
school fight song to the student section at the conclusion of home
games. Meyer invited former players back with open arms and had
Captains' Legacy Weekend – inviting all former UF captains back for
Meyer also spearheaded the plans for a $28-million expansion of the
football facility which features an expanded weight room, new football
offices and the Bill Heavener Football Complex. The state-of-the art
building pays tribute to Florida's proud tradition, championships and
all-time great players.
In addition to his on the field accomplishments, Meyer has also
championed efforts in community service in Gainesville.
Meyer recently spearheaded a local effort to feed needy families in the
local community with St. Augustine's Catholic Church. Meyer's
donation and 50-plus members of the football team bagged food and goods
that would last a week during the Thanksgiving Holiday.
A new initiative beginning in 2009, UF football players performed more
than 400 hours of community service each year, as each student-athlete
attended at least two Goodwill Gator events per semester.
In the spring of 2009, the "Swamp Field Trip" was available to
local middle schools as a reward for their students who achieved good
grades, were involved in community service, had major improvements, etc.
The students had the opportunity to speak with a group of players and
had a special tour of the football facility given by the players.
The UF football team held the inaugural Gator Charity Challenge in
August of 2008 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in front of approximately
1,800 people. The fundraiser featured the 2008 Gators challenging each
other in a series of strength competitions to raise funds and awareness
for six charities that were selected by the football program and are
affiliated with Shands, a University partner. The charities were the
American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart
Association, Children's Miracle Network, March of Dimes and the Susan
G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The Gator Charity Challenge was held
in association with Uplifting Athletes.
In the spring of 2008, Meyer initiated a mentor program for young
at-risk males. Working with the African-American Accountability Alliance
of Alachua County task force, the program BLAQUE (Bold Leaders,
Achieving Quality, Unity and Excellence) was developed. The program
partnered 15 area middle school children with a Gator football player
and a community leader. The goal is to affect change in the lives of
at-risk black youth.
In the spring of 2005 and 2006, Meyer worked closely with student-body
leaders on campus on a community service initiative surrounding the
annual Orange and Blue Spring Game. Student leaders sold Orange and Blue
spirit bands prior to the Spring Game with proceeds benefiting the
Children's Miracle Network. Fans that purchased the bands were then
asked to assist members of the UF coaching staff and football team in
the planning of more than 400 crape myrtle trees on Radio Road on
Meyer's goodwill efforts have extended beyond his football family.
Inspired by Tebow's missionary work, Meyer and his family spent time
in the Dominican Republic on a missionary trip in June of 2008.
Meyer has mentored 10 coaches who have gone on to become Division I
head coaches. Six of the seven served as coordinators under Meyer. In
2003, Gregg Brandon succeeded Meyer as head coach at Bowling Green,
while 2005 saw Kyle Whittingham take over for Meyer at Utah. Also in
2005, Mike Sanford took the reins at UNLV. Tim Beckman was named head
coach at Toledo in December of 2008. This season was Dan Mullen's
second as head coach at Mississippi State following his time as
offensive coordinator at UF. Former Florida defensive coordinator
Charlie Strong was hired as the head coach at the University of
Louisville in December of 2009. John "Doc" Holliday, an assistant
for UF in 2005 and 2006, was named head coach at Marshall last December
and, most recently, former defensive line coach Dan McCarney was named
the head coach at North Texas.
Meyer came to UF from Utah, where Meyer closed out his stint in Salt
Lake City with 16 consecutive wins. He began his UF career with
four-straight wins to extend his head coaching winning streak to 20
games. With its post-season bid to the Fiesta Bowl, Utah made history by
becoming the first school from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference
to earn a berth in a BCS Bowl. Utah finished as the outright 2004
Mountain West Conference champion to become the only back-to-back
outright winners in the league's history.
Meyer began his head coaching career at Bowling Green in 2001, where he
engineered the top turnaround in NCAA Division I-A football, showing a
six-win improvement from the previous season. The Falcons rebounded from
a 2-9 record to post their first winning season since 1994 with an 8-3
Meyer's 17-6 (.739) record at Bowling Green included a 5-0 mark against
BCS teams and two wins over ranked opponents.
Meyer apprenticed at Ohio State (1986-87), Illinois State (1988-89),
Colorado State (1990-95) and Notre Dame (1996-2000) before getting the
head job at Bowling Green. The Ashtabula, Ohio, native learned the
coaching trade from the likes of Sonny Lubick, Lou Holtz, Earle Bruce
and Bob Davie.
Meyer Steps Down as Gator Coach
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