Thursday, December 9, 2010

"IF" is the biggest word in analyzing why Meyer is stepping down


By MIKE DAROZA
CFRT Editor

Something struck me personally as I listened to University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer's resignation press conference last night.
Being a father who is on his second marriage, if there is something I can speak about with authority, it's getting second chances in life.
Not to get too personal, but one of the few great things that came out of my first marriage was the birth of my oldest son, who was three years old at the time of my divorce.
Over the following six years, I was primarily a single parent, doing everything I could to make things as "normal" for my son as possible.
In retrospect, however, I can now see just how I could have done a much better job.
I wish I could go back and do things over, but that - as we all know too well - just isn't possible.
Now, in my second marriage, raising my younger son and daughter, I tend to handle things much differently than I did as a younger, single parent.
Fortunately, my oldest son has turned out just fine (not withstanding a few knucklehead decisions, of course, but who among us haven't made our share of knucklehead mistakes, especially when we were young?).
But when it comes to being calmer, more disciplined and knowing when it's more important to spend quality time, I am infinitely better equipped to be a parent these days.
My point is, even though I didn't necessarily fail at being a parent the first time around, I was lucky enough to get a second chance.
And I am grateful I did.


So, how does this relate to Meyer's resignation?
Well, because unlike his first resignation/U-turn/leave of absence last year, Meyer said his health has nothing to do with the decision to step down this time.
Which brings me to my big "IF."


IF Meyer is truthfully stepping down to spend more time with his family, that means he is utilizing a second chance at being a parent again, and regardless of wins, losses, conference or national championships, none of of should blame him.


Working just 20 minutes or so from Meyer's office, I have ample opportunity to hear what's on the minds and mouths of the Gator Nation.
Some of the responses to the breaking news in Gainesville yesterday ranged anywhere from the appreciative to the absurd, and all points in between.
Look, I was here when Steve Spurrier dropped the bomb with his announcement, so it doesn't surprise me that some fans felt jilted by Meyer's second resignation.
But there were more than a fair share of fans that actually took the "good riddance" position with their now-former coach.
Really?
Are we talking about the same coach here?


Oh sure, I'd be pissed too if a guy had the audacity to come to my favorite college football school, win two national championships, two SEC titles, three BCS bowls and haul in a legendary Heisman Trophy winner and then call it quits after six years (in case you can't tell by the tone of my typing, that was complete and utter sarcasm).


Just to make sure I wasn't too far off base in thinking these fans were being out-of-their-mind ridiculous, I tried this question out on a friend of mine who is a die-hard North Carolina fan: 
If I told you a football coach would come to Chapel Hill and do over the next six years exactly what Meyer did at Florida, what would you say?
His response?
"I would sign up in a heartbeat!," he said via email.
"Gator Nation is lucky. Just as UNC (basketball) is lucky to have had two Hall of Fame coaches, five nationals titles, two in the last five years. Yet, because they are struggling the past year and a half, people are calling for the coach's head, despite the fact that he's one of the greatest of all time. Emotions just get the best of most fans."
I couldn't agree more.
I agree Meyer had his weaknesses.
Was Meyer the friendliest coach ever at Florida?
No.
Did he seem aloof at times?
Sure.


But make no mistake Gator Nation, whether you want to believe it or not, Meyer is the Gators' greatest coach ever if you're talking results on the field.
In all honesty, I don't think Meyer is leaving for any one particular reason, but rather a combination of them.
I believe part of the reason is Meyer knew his loyalty was going to stand in the way of him making necessary changes on his staff (Steve Adazzio) and it would be easier for everyone involved if he just stepped down.
Can any of you remember any significant staff member Meyer ever got rid of?
I also think Meyer realized the toll that had been taken by losing two of three best assistants (Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong) he's had to head coaching jobs elsewhere.


Maybe he just wasn't having fun anymore?
Hell, if 2009's 13-1 season was miserable, disappointing and hospitalizing, where is the fun in anything less than that?
And for those of you who think Meyer is leaving because of the lack of talent at UF, just watch how fast the new guy - if he's the right guy - gets this program back to the top.


Regardless, from one father who was given a second chance, if Meyer is indeed leaving because he wants to spend more quality time with his family - and that might be a gargantuan IF at this point - then he's got my support.

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