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    Friday, November 23, 2007

    Meyer Follows In Tradition Of Spurrier

    Urban Meyer is in his third season as the head coach of the Gators. Following in the tradition of Steve "The Weasel" Spurrier, Meyer chooses not to refer to FSU by name. I guess that's called class at Florida. Elsewhere it's called having no class. Meyer has 20 years of college coaching experience, including seven as a head coach.

    Meyer's first collegiate coaching position was a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (he had spent one year as a defensive backs coach at Saint Xavier High School in Cincinnati, OH). He then spent the next 13 years as an assistant—two at Illinois State, six at Colorado State, and finally five at Notre Dame. In 2001, Meyer took his first head coaching job at Bowling Green; in his first season there, he engineered the greatest turnaround in the NCAA, earning Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors in the process.

    After two seasons at Bowling Green, he took the job at Utah in 2003. In his first season there, Meyer was named the Mountain West Conference's Coach of the Year with a 10-2 record, the best ever for a coach's first season at Utah. He also earned honors as The Sporting News National Coach of the Year, the first Utes coach to do so. Meyer's success can be attributed to his unique offensive system.

    In 2004 after he led the undefeated Utes to a Bowl Championship Series bid, he was approached by both the University of Florida and the University of Notre Dame. Meyer chose to become Florida's head coach for the 2005 season, signing a 7-year contract worth $14 million. He remained at Utah long enough to coach the team to a Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh, capping off the Utes' first perfect season (12-0) since 1930.

    In 2005, his first season at Florida, Meyer's Gators team finished the season 9-3 (5-3 in the Southeastern Conference). The season included an undefeated record at home and a bowl victory against Iowa in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The Gators would have faced LSU in the SEC championship game, but they lost to South Carolina which was coached by former Florida coach Steve Spurrier.

    In his second season at Florida, Meyer turned the Gators' fortunes around. He coached the Gators to a 13-1 (8-1 in the SEC) record, with the one loss coming on the road at Auburn, and SEC wins at home against South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and LSU; on the road at Tennessee and Vanderbilt, with another win over rival Georgia. After clinching the SEC East, the Gators won the SEC Championship Game on December 2nd over Arkansas by a score of 38-28. Despite the loss to Auburn, Florida was ranked 4th in the BCS before their final game of the regular season against Arkansas. This win, coupled with then second-ranked Southern California's 13-9 loss to unranked rival UCLA on the same day catapulted Florida into the BCS National Championship Game where they beat Ohio State 41-14.

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