Meyer era begins with press conference at 4pm

The Urban Meyer era at the University of Florida will be kicked off formally at 4 p.m. with a press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The press conference will be carried live on Sunshine Network statewide and likely through ESPN News.

While the day marks the beginning of Florida's new era with the official unveiling of the new coach, hired from the University of Utah where his fifth-ranked Utes are unbeaten (11-0) and set to face Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl of the Bowl Championship Series, there will also be a new beginning for Coach Ron Zook and the University of Illinois.

Zook, Florida's coach the past three years (23-14 record, 7-4 this season), will be announced at a press conference in Champaign-Urbana at 2 p.m. EDT. It remains unclear whether Zook will be coaching Florida for the Peach Bowl game against Miami in Atlanta, December 31 at the Georgia Dome.

Meyer, who has a 38-8 record as a head coach in two-year stops at Bowling Green and Utah, is the 2004 National Coach of the Year. He has received a seven-year, $14-million deal to coach the Gators. He will be coaching Utah in the Fiesta Bowl but in the next two days, he is expected to name as many as four present Florida assistants to his new staff to handle recruiting matters while he is prepping the Utes for the bowl game.

Wednesday, Meyer is expected to meet the Florida football team plus conduct staff interviews with a number of present Florida assistant coaches. Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley has made it abundantly clear that Meyer will have the right to choose his own staff, but it is expected that he will keep some of the current assistants.

Zook is expected to offer present staffers Bill Miller, Larry Fedora, Dan Disch and Joe Wickline an opportunity to join him at Illinois. Fedora and Wickline are also prime candidates to remain with the Florida staff.

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