VETTEL: Coach Heater talks about Urban Meyer

For the most part Urban Meyer built his coaching staff with men he has worked closely with in the past, but there's no member of the Gator staff who has a longer track record with Florida's first-year secondary Coach Chuck Heater. Heater was in his second season as the secondary coach at Ohio State when Urban Meyer was brought aboard as a graduate assistant to work with the tight ends.

After two years together in Columbus they went their separate ways, Heater to Notre Dame and Meyer to Illinois State but they soon reunited at Colorado State in 1991. Two years later, Heater moved on, but not far. He was at Colorado and coached opposite the new Gator head man for the next three years. A third go 'round as members of the same staff came last year when Meyer hired Heater for an opening at Utah.

Now Chuck Heater and Meyer are on the same staff at a fourth school. With such a long track record together, I figured Heater would have some insight into what led Meyer to make the transition from graduate assistant to the hottest young head coach in college football. I was right.

LV: Chuck, you've worked alongside Urban at several stops, what do you think is special about Urban Meyer?

CH: Well he has a lot of attributes that are crucial to being a successful person not just being a head coach. He has a tremendous work ethic. He's a bright guy and a very thorough guy. He's a very driven guy, and he's a guy who likes what he does. All those things interact to make someone very successful and he certainly has been that very quickly as a head coach. Every "T" gets crossed and every "I" gets dotted. You're held accountable as a coach and the players are held accountable and that's a good, sound system by which to run an organization. All you have to have is the right ingredients. If you have the right players --- good enough players --- and you throw that kind of system into it; you have a chance to be really successful and I think that's what his system has proven in just the last four years.

LV: Over the years I have noticed things about assistant coaches that get me thinking that guy is going to be a head coach one day. Your time together goes all the way back to 1986 at Ohio State. Could you see that right away in Urban even when he was a graduate assistant?

CH: There's no question, at least not in my mind. There are guys who are outstanding assistant coaches and it doesn't always translate over but more often than not it does. You take a guy who was an outstanding assistant coach and that means he was an expert at what he did as well as an outstanding recruiter. Guys who go on to be successful head coaches usually have those kinds of qualities as well. He was always taking notes. I used to kid him; "you were always taking notes around great coaches". I was around some of the same people he was (Earl Bruce, Lou Holtz) and he took great notes about the right way to do things and how he would do them someday when he was a head coach. I think he just jumped into that seat and took off flying like he knew what he was doing from the very get-go. And that's because he was very astute and knew exactly how he was going to go about doing things when he became a head coach and was able to implement it. He's about all the right stuff in terms of organization and backs it up with the tremendous work ethic he has.

* * *

I wish I had the time to go into even more things in getting to know the new Gator head man, but it's obvious Urban Meyer has earned the respect of coaches who have resumes much longer than his. That five of his nine assistant coaches have been coaching longer than Meyer speaks volumes about the way he goes about his business and the way people in the profession respond.

Oh, by the way, Urban Meyer turned 41 last Sunday.

Keep those emails coming!

Don't forget to email me your questions and comments, but please do not include attachments! My email address is: .

I look forward to you joining me on the radio, Sunday nights from 6:00-to-8:00 on Gainesville's WSKY-FM 97.3 (877/975-9825 toll free)

Have a great week.

Fightin Gators Top Stories