Monday, January 25, 2010



The Real Truth About Urban Meyer

"I have been a member of Rivals / Gatorbait for about three years and, while I am an avid reader of both the Alley and the main board, I have never once posted so no one here knows me, including the Gators. I am not going to tell you how I know any of this nor will I post again here on this subject. Flame away if you must or take it for what it is worth…it is your prerogative.

With his health scare, Urban Meyer had a wake-up call. He realized he had been, for several years, giving everything he had to his team to the detriment of his health and his family. He felt it was a message from God that he had lost track of his priorities and, being emphatically decisive he felt he had to make a choice between his long-term health / family and his job. He chose his family.

Meanwhile, Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida, Jeremy Foley and Shelley Meyer wanted Meyer to take time off to get healthy, decompress, spend time with his family and recharge his batteries. Meyer has essentially earned “tenure” at UF and was encouraged to take a sabbatical. Despite their collective and repeated efforts over several days, Meyer remained committed to his own decision to step down because he is a type-A, all-in perfectionist. He felt that if he could not do the job right now, he should step away in the interests of his team and the university…and he had a plan.

Why the timing on the resignation?

Why couldn’t Meyer wait until after the Sugar Bowl---or for that matter NSD for all you conspiracy theorists---to make this announcement? Why all the urgency? Why create more distraction for his beloved team before their final game?

Because Meyer's plan was that Charlie Strong would get promoted to HC and after some time off, Meyer would come back to UF and help Strong out at arm's length, staying involved, though less directly, in the powerhouse program he built. For his plan to work, he had to resign immediately, before Strong signed a contract with Louisville. He could not wait until after the bowl game.

Why the sudden change of heart?

Practically the instant that the Meyer resignation hit the wires, Bob Stoops contacted Foley. He wanted the HC job at Florida. Though we (Gators) all LOVE Strong, Foley would not and could not promote Strong to HC with the likes of Stoops in the candidate pool. Meyer knew that if Stoops took the job, he would not be able to stay involved in the program in any capacity. Strong would go to Louisville and all of Meyer's assistants would be out of a job. His players, who he truly loves, would have to weather a complete change in coaching staff and philosophy. In one week, he would lose all connection to the program he has given everything to building for five years.

In short, Meyer felt he would be letting everyone down---his players, his assistant coaches, his wife (who never wanted him to resign) and himself. Meyer realized that if he didn't take the LOA option, he would lose his team and program altogether. Placing faith in God and in his wife’s, Machen’s and Foley’s assertions that all he really needs is some time off, he changed his mind.

Meyer said that he changed his mind when he saw the team and coaches practicing hard; when he looked at the championship signs around the stadium and reflected on the program he built at Florida. Those statements are true. He also said, in a later interview, "I didn't want anything to change. I didn't want anyone to come in here and change what we built…"

Bob Stoops, absolutely without intention, accomplished in mere moments what Machen, Foley and Shelley Meyer were unable to accomplish in several days---getting Urban Meyer to rethink his course of action and decide to take some well-earned time off after NSD and regroup.

While it is certainly possible that he could decide in the future not to return to coaching at Florida, (which incidentally would not make him a liar as we are all entitled to change our minds) I firmly believe---and this is my opinion---that he will be on the Florida sidelines next season and for many years to come. It will be hard work for him to learn to delegate sufficiently, but he will learn to strike a better balance in his life with the support of the Meyer family and his UF family. I think he is touched by the level of loyalty and support being shown him by the UF administration, his players, his recruits and Florida alumni and fans, and he will return to his job later this year refreshed, grateful and with a renewed outlook.

As any fair-minded person who has had major personal and/or professional decisions to make can attest, cross roads in life are very challenging. They are made even more difficult for people whose lives are publicly scrutinized. What we all witnessed was exactly this and nothing more. Meyer made a difficult personal decision and when the facts changed, he made a different decision. The only reason it seems strange to anyone is because you don’t know all of facts. You merely assume that you do and pass judgment rather than give someone who is highly accomplished the benefit of the doubt. If Urban Meyer, his family, the university and his team are all comfortable with his decisions, that is all that matters.

It would be nice if those of us who have faced somewhat similar challenges in balancing our family and work lives reflected on this ourselves. For those of you who are still too young to have experienced these types of challenges, your day will come. Here is hoping that you find yourself surrounded by people who care about you and are loyal to you like Urban Meyer has.

In parting, while I literally laugh out loud at some of the flame wars on this board, it would be really great if, for one day, we could all act like we are friends in a sports bar together drinking a beer and complimenting the positive attributes about each other’s teams and coaches instead of trying to tear each other down. While there is 0% chance that this will happen, I will nevertheless give a shout out to the FSU fans. Congratulations on a phenomenal career, Bobby Bowden! Well Done! I wish you luck, Noles, with your new coaching staff and recruiting class and look forward to many years of competitive games for our great rivalry! Cheers!"

Trust me on this, she is dead RIGHT! (THIS IS NOT ME)

This person is a relative of one of the principals involved and has intimate knowledge of the inside facts.

The only thing sge left out was that Stoopes had accepted the Gator HC job in principle on saturday night and would have announced that decision to the OU folks and the world on Sunday if Urban had not decided to reconsider and accept the LOA. Stoopes was NOT going to use the UF job to get a raise out of OU as he had done in the past. This time it would have been different.

While Strong was Urban's first choice, he actually submitted a list to Foley that included Mullen and Whittingham in addition to Strong. Meyer wanted a coach that would not feel threatened with him "looking over his shoulder" as a defacto CEO of the Gator program. He would have left the actual coaching to Strong or whoever.

Think of it, with Meyer recruiting andpulling the strings in that regard and a black head coach, UF would have been a recruiting monster. It was a good plan.

However, Foley made it clear that although he would seriously consider Meyer's choices, the final decision on the new coach was his. With the high level of interest expressed by Stoopes it would have been a no-brainer to hire him rather than one of Meyer's choices.

In addition, Stoopes would not have wanted Meyer to keep his fingers in the program and would likely have brought as many of his staff at OU as would have come.

She is right about the loyalty of Meyer towards his staff. It seems that some of that loyalty may have been misplaced as several have left the program on their own.

When this person says Urban will be back on the sidelines, she knows what she is talking about. After Urban comes back I will reveal who she is."


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