Gators Set to Hire Meyer

It looks like the Florida football program is about to become an Urban renewal project.

The Times-Union newspaper in Jacksonville, Fla, is reporting Gator athletic director Jeremy Foley has offered Urban Meyer the head coaching position, and that he is expected to accept.

Meyer directed Utah to an 11-0 record this season and a likely BCS Fiesta Bowl bid. On Thursday, it appeared Meyer was headed to Notre Dame where he served as an assistant under Bob Davies. However the deal didn't get done during a meeting with Notre Dame officials in Salt Lake City and now he seems likely to ascend to the post vacated by Ron Zook's dismissal.

Fox Sports reports Florida doubled Notre Dame's offer of $1 million per season, extending an offer of $14 million over seven years. That was enough to make Meyer turn down a position he described as his "dream job." He has a clause in his Utah contract that doesn't penalize him for taking the Notre Dame head coaching job. However Florida may be obligated to buy out the remaining years of his Utah agreement.

Florida discussed the job with former head coach Steve Spurrier and made a run at Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, who served as Spurrier's defensive coordinator on the 1996 national title team. Both men turned the position down. Spurrier has subsequently accepted the head job at South Carolina while Stoops is expected to sign an extension at Oklahoma.

Meyer got his first head coaching job at Bowling Green where he went 17-6 including 5-0 against BCS teams in two years. He had the same type of immediate success at Utah in 2003, turning a 5-6 team into a 10-2 squad in a single season. He has a 38-9 career mark.

There's no immediate word on whether Meyer will coach Utah's bowl game or if he'll direct the Gators in the Peach Bowl. Zook has been mentioned as a candidate for the Illinois job.

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