Urban Meyer announced this afternoon that he will be stepping down as head coach at the University of Florida, and will coach the Gators for the final time at the Outback Bowl on January 1st against Penn State.
Urban Meyer Career at Florida
Florida stumbled to a 7-5 record this season, its most regular-season losses since 1988. Meyer had lost just 10 games in his first five seasons at the helm in the Swamp. The Gators also really struggled at home -- the three losses in Gainesville this season were one more than in the previous five seasons combined under Meyer.
When Meyer was hired in 2005, the Gators were coming off three straight seasons with at least five losses under Ron Zook, their longest such streak since the end of the 1980s. Meyer’s ability to consistently recruit the best high school talent was key to his success in turning around the program. Florida ranked in the top five of ESPNU’s recruiting class rankings each year from 2006 to 2010, and ranks fourth in the latest 2011 rankings.
Prior to Meyer’s arrival, the Gators had also lost three straight bowl games under Zook, the first time that had happened since 1973-76. Meyer has won four of his five bowl games while at Florida, including a 3-0 record in BCS bowl games. His four BCS bowl wins (he also won the Fiesta Bowl as Utah coach) rank second all-time behind Pete Carroll’s six.
Since Meyer took over the program in 2005, the Gators have consistently been one of the best teams in college football. Their 64 wins are fourth-most among FBS teams over the last six seasons, and their seven weeks spent as the No. 1 team in the BCS Standings are the most among SEC teams and tied for second-most in the nation.
Highest Win Pct at Florida Since 1933
Regardless of whether the Gators beat the Nittany Lions on New Year’s Day, Meyer will likely be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in Florida history. His current record of 64-15 (.810) ranks second behind Steve Spurrier among Gators coaches since 1933, the team’s first season competing in the SEC.
Speaking of Spurrier, Meyer and the Head Ball Coach actually put up similar numbers in their first six seasons at the helm, each winning over 60 games and multiple SEC titles. Meyer had success on the national stage quicker, though, with two national championships to his name. Spurrier didn’t win his first title until his seventh season in Gainesville.