There have been successful coaches and athletes who have figured out the balance necessary to also have a positive family life. Jack Nicklaus used to fly home on Friday nights in the middle of a golf tournament to see his sons play H.S. Football. Don Shula won World Championships and is the winningest coach of all-time, yet kept his family in tact.
Urban Meyer says he’s incapable of doing that and stepped down as the Head Coach at the University of Florida.
This is no criticism of Urban. Everybody has to do what they think is best for them and after his retirement, un-retirement and leave of absence last year; this move didn’t come as a shock. What was different was the focus only on his home life, his family, and his lack of connection with his daughters in college and in high school and not a word about his health.
No word about the cyst on his brain or the chest pains (caused by esophageal spasms). Nothing about last year except to say it was a “knee jerk” reaction and this was completely different.
I couldn’t agree more with his statement about how you’ll eventually be judged “as what kind of husband and father you were, not how many bowl games you win.” It’s very noble, but I left Gainesville thinking there was more to the story. Perhaps we’ll never know. I certainly don’t have any negative thoughts about Meyer’s announcement.
When you’ve had enough and you know it, get away. It makes it a bit easier when you’ve earned an estimated $18 million over the last six years in Gainesville. So if he wants to concentrate on other things, he has the wherewithal to do just that.
He’s considered one of the rocks of the community in Gainesville, along with Billy Donovan, getting involved in numerous charitable and fund-raising efforts. Hopefully he’ll stay involved. I don’t think he’ll coach for a while, and he even said that today. So don’t read anything but coincidence into him quitting and Denver needing a head coach.
Who replaces him will be a hot topic of discussion for a couple of weeks. Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said he knows this process and knows how to go about it so he’ll keep us posted, when he can. There are probably 10 names on the list, 5 on the short list. That’ll happen either right before or right after the first of the year.
Meyer says he’ll coach through the Outback Bowl and be a part of the recruiting process until the new coach is named. I will say that Meyer never embraced the “Gators” idea, but he won, so he was a part of the family. We should wish him luck, help him though any hardships and be pleased he could make such a dramatic decision.
Here’s one question the new coach should consider: If Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer have left the Florida football program in the last 10 years; What’s going on there?