Just as quickly as the reports surfaced, they’ve become official.
Urban Meyer has stepped down as Florida’s head coach.
According to the school’s official website, Meyer informed athletic director Jeremy Foley over the weekend that, for the second straight December, he was again contemplating retiring/resigning. The two most powerful men in UF athletics finalized Meyer’s plans Tuesday, and Meyer informed the team of his decision today. A 6 p.m. press conference will be held to speak publicly on yet another stunning arc in the coach’s career.
And, based on Meyer’s own words in a press release, it appears the 46-year-old coach is — again — retiring from coaching altogether in order to spend more time with his children.
“I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and, during that time, my primary focus has been helping my teams win titles,” Meyer said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I am a fierce competitor to my core. At this time in my life, however, I appreciate 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.
“I am enormously grateful to the University of Florida and our tremendous fans for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the football program. The support provided by school president Bernie Machen and athletic 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 have always shared my passionate commitment to winning and to guiding the development of the young men of Florida football.
“Most important, 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 sports.”
Assuming he doesn’t have another Favrian change of heart, Meyer will finish his career — pending the outcome of the Gators’ postseason game; he’ll coach his team one final time in the Outback Bowl — in Gainesville with a 64-15 record and two national titles. Overall, he’s 103-23 as a head coach when stops at Utah and Bowling Green are included.
As for a replacement, it would seem to be a matter of when, not if, former UF offensive coordinator and current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is introduced as Meyer’s successor.