In a move that apparently was in the works for some time, Florida announced that head coach Urban Meyer is stepping down.
“I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and, during that time, my primary focus has been helping my teams win titles,” Meyer said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I am a fierce competitor to my core. At this time in my life, however, I appreciate 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.”
So what else can you say but ... Wow.
That, and this one actually seems final. For no other reason than even if Meyer has second thoughts this time, Jeremy Foley may not have the patience to let him un-resign this time.
So who replaces Meyer? Well, allow me to quote David Pollack on Twitter just now:
"If (Dan) Mullen isn't the guy to replace Urban then my Name is not David Pollack."
Actually, part of me wonders if Mullen to Florida is so obvious that it won't happen. But until Mullen comes out and says he's staying at Mississippi State, all eyes will be on him.
By the way, lemme get this straight: Of the two teams in the Outback Bowl, it's the 46-year-old coach of Florida who is retiring, not the 83-year-old coach of Penn State? OK, just checking.
My friend Brian, an Auburn graduate who has lived in Gainesville for several years, called me this afternoon to report on the state of mind of Gator-land.
"For a coach with his record, there's a remarkable lack of sorrow for this," Brian said.
People weren't crying in the streets or thanking Meyer for his work, according to my friend. Instead the conversations tended to focus on who would replace him. From an outsider's perspective, Brian thinks Gator fans have become a bit spoiled.
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who worked at Florida until August, released a short statement:
"I wish Urban, Shelley, and their children only the very best wherever his career path may lead."
So Georgia fans, what say you? Will you miss Meyer? Will this be a good thing for Georgia?