Sunday, October 19, 2008
Meyer leaving Gators for Clemson
Michael W. Arnold
Urban Meyer shocked Florida Gator football fans Sunday morning when he announced he was leaving Florida to accept the head coaching job at Clemson.
"I'm tired of constantly competing for national championships at a school that expects results and gives me everything I need to be successful," Meyer told reporters at a hastily organized press conference.
Meyer cited burnout at as a contributing factor in a rambling 45-minute speech laced with profanity.
"I've been at Florida twice as long as any other job I've had," Meyer sighed. "And I am simply exhausted."
Meyer said at Clemson, expectations would be much lower and noted he would no longer have to play in the shadow of legendary Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who left Florida for the same reasons. In fact, he said, I could run him out of South Carolina.
Tommy Bowden, who coached Clemson for the past 10 years before resigning Oct. 13, never won more than nine games in a season, never won an ACC title, but did take the Tigers to eight bowl games where he had a 3-5 record.
Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips was prepared to fire Bowden many times before, but said "the pesky bastard kept beating South Carolina at the end of the year to keep his job." Bowden was 7-2 against the in-state rivals.
Meyer said those types of expectations better suited his temperament. "Hell, I can win nine games in a year easy in a second-rate conference like the ACC."
Meyer guaranteed at least a .500 record and a middle-of-the-pack finish in the moderately competitive Atlantic Division of the ACC. "I know I can finish ahead of the Wolfpack," Meyer said referring to lowly North Carolina State.
Meyer has been a winner everywhere he has coached. His first head coaching job was at Bowling Green where he was 17-6 in two years with a second and third place finish in the MAC. Following that, Meyer spent two years at Utah and where he was 22-2 and won the Mountain West Conference both years. The Utes were 12-0 in Meyer's second year. At Florida, Meyer is 36-9 in 3 1/2 years with a national championship. Meyer said he needed to get out of Florida before the fans realized he sucked at recruiting, and could only win games with other coaches' signees.
"Everyone knows the 2006 BCS title was Zooker's," Meyer said. "I need a place where everyone knows your name, but no one cares. And Clemson fills that bill."