GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Urban Meyer is stepping down as head coach of the University of Florida football team, Athletics Director Jeremy Foley announced Wednesday afternoon.
Meyer captured two National Championships in his six years at Florida
(2006 and 2008), two Southeastern Conference Championships (2006 and 2008), three SEC Eastern Division crowns (2006, 2008 and 2009) and led UF to six-straight January bowl games, including three BCS bowl games.
He was named Sporting News and Sports Illustrated “Coach of the Decade” in December of 2009.
“I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and, during that time, my primary focus has been making a difference in the lives of the young men I have been so fortunate to have coached and building championship programs,” Meyer said. “At this time in my life, however, I fully grasp 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. My family has shared both the commitment and the sacrifice required to coach at this level for so long and I would not have enjoyed the success I have had without their support.”
Meyer will coach his last game for UF in the Gators’ Outback Bowl matchup vs. Penn State on January 1st in Tampa, Fla.
Meyer continued, “I am enormously grateful to the University of Florida and our tremendous fans for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the Gator football program. The support provided by school president Bernie Machen and athletics 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 has always shared my passionate commitment to winning and to guiding the development of the young men of Florida football. Most importantly, 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.”
“It's been an honor and privilege to have Urban Meyer be our football coach for six years,” said Foley. “The championships, the mentoring of young men and his commitment to the University of Florida have indeed been special. As good of a coach as he is, he's a better person and a great friend. He has given everything he has to this institution and we are grateful for the experiences. It a chapter in our history that is closing, but I know Urban wants to remain involved with the University and the Gainesville community. He absolutely loves the Gators."
“As I have said many times, Urban Meyer's integrity and commitment to his players and the University of Florida are beyond reproach,” said Machen. “He leaves an outstanding legacy, on the field and in the classroom. I know that all Gators wish nothing but the best for Coach Meyer as we recognize his extraordinary achievements with a great sense of pride and appreciation.”
He became the first coach in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision to post consecutive 13-win seasons (2008 and 2009) and he is the only coach to post three 13-win seasons in a four-year span.
He was the first coach in the nation to win two Bowl Championship Series National Championships and is one of only two coaches in the history of the SEC to win two outright National Championships.
The three-time National Coach of the Year is currently the nation’s active winningest coach with 10 seasons or more, posting 103 victories against just 23 losses for a .817 winning percentage in his 10 seasons.
He reached 100 wins in just 118 games, the second-fastest number of games to reach the century mark since 1945. Overall, only five coaches reached the 100-win mark quicker than Meyer.
Meyer’s six-year record at Florida is 64-15 (.810), including a school-record stretch of 22-straight consecutive wins, the fourth-longest streak by an SEC team and the longest in the conference in 15 years. His teams also put together streak of 16-consecutive wins in SEC games, the second-longest streak in school history. Meyer was
17-2 (.895) against UF’s traditional rivals (Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State and Miami). Among active coaches, Meyer has been the only head coach to put together three 13-win seasons.
Meyer, 46, holds a 36-12 (.750) mark in SEC play at Florida, which is the fourth-best SEC winning percentage among head coaches who spent five years or more in the conference.
Since the SEC’s inception in 1933, no coach had begun his SEC career faster than Meyer. With his 2009 win over Arkansas, Meyer collected his 50th win as an SEC head coach, reaching that mark in just 59 games. That tied Frank Thomas of Alabama for the fastest to achieve 50 wins as an SEC head coach.
In 2008, Meyer accomplished the unprecedented feat of knocking off the BCS No. 1-ranked team in consecutive games, downing Alabama in the SEC Championship Game before dispatching Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. Add in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game victory over Ohio State, and Meyer is the only coach to have defeated three BCS No. 1-ranked teams in his career.
Meyer owns a 58-7 (.892) record at home in his career, including a 36-5
(.878) mark in The Swamp. Meyer was 11-4 (.733) against top-10 teams at UF and his Gator teams were ranked at one point in 89-consecutive polls, including 67 weeks in the top 10 and 16 weeks at No. 1.
There have been 26 Gators selected in the NFL Draft under Meyer, including a nation’s-best nine in 2007 and 2009. Seven Gators have been first-round draft picks under Meyer and UF has had at least one first-round pick in each of the last four years. A school-record tying three Gators were chosen in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Overall, Meyer has coached 81 players who have signed NFL contracts.
Eighty-six of his players have graduated at UF and another nine are scheduled to graduate on Saturday. Two of those 86 student-athletes were named among UF’s Outstanding Senior Leaders on campus (Chris Leak,
2006 and Tim Tebow, 2009). One hundred and thirty one of his student athletes were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll at Florida, including a league-record 37 in 2008. More than 37 percent of his scholarship players earned above a 3.0 GPA in the Spring of 2009 and Tebow won the William V. Campbell Trophy last year, also known as the Academic Heisman.
Meyer is one of two active coaches to win a pair of outright national championships (2006 and 2008), coach a Heisman Trophy winner (Tebow) and coach a first-overall draft pick in the NFL Draft (Alex Smith).