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Wednesday December 8, 2010Quotes From UAA Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Watch the Press Conference on GatorVision

 

Dr. Bernard Machen, University of Florida President

“Tonight we gather here to announce Urban (Meyer)’s intention to step down from the head coaching position at the University of Florida. But before we hear from Urban and then (Athletic Director) Jeremy (Foley), I would like to take just a second and ask you all to reflect upon what Urban has accomplished at the University of Florida. You all know and have written about his three appearances and wins in BCS bowls in six year’s time. You know about the two National Championships he brought to this University. But do you know that 86 of his players have already graduated from the University and another nine will graduate this weekend in our winter ceremonies? Our football graduation success rate is No. 2 in the SEC, something he’s very proud of and something that I’m very proud of as well. He’s also an outstanding member of our community. He and his family have been exemplary members of the Gainesville community. He spearheaded the local effort within their St. Augustine Catholic Church to buy food for the needy. He and (men’s basketball head coach) Billy Donovan co-chair the fundraising campaign for the Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, a significant effort on behalf of the University. Urban was hired because of his commitment to excellence, because of his integrity and his commitment to his players. In every dimension, he’s exceeded everything we could have hoped for as he carried out his duties at the University of Florida. He took us to a new level – a level that will maybe be reached again, but never exceeded. He leaves a lasting legacy at the University of Florida, we are so proud of him and what he’s accomplished and the way he’s done so. He is a true Gator. We are hopeful that he will remain with us in some capacity after he’s through coaching, but whatever he does we’re so proud to call him one of our own and so proud to say what he’s done for this University and this community.”

 

 

Coach Urban Meyer

Opening Statement:

“I appreciate Dr. Machen’s remarks. He has been tremendously supportive of myself and my family for the last seven years. I have great love for the University of Florida and I’m very proud of Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and how they have helped us and what we’ve accomplished here at the University of Florida. I’m stepping down as the head football coach of the University of Florida to focus on family and my other interests away from the sidelines.”

 

On whether he regrets coming back after briefly resigning last year:

“No, I love Florida. I have the best boss in the country with Jeremy, our Athletic Director. I have a great staff and that was a knee-jerk reaction to a situation (last year) and the timing was not right. I don’t know if the timing is ever perfect, but at least this way you get a new coach on board to help create and move forward.”

 

On the difference between this year’s and last year’s decisions:

“Like I said, last year was a knee-jerk reaction, a lot of emotion in our family. We are a very tight-knit family. A daughter came home from college and found out what happened and you can only imagine what it’s like when you have children. This year, it was just completely different. This is what I think is best for the University of Florida, for our players and honestly for myself and my family.”

 

On why he feels stepping down is the best decision for him:

“It is fairly simple. I think sometimes we make it far to complex. At the end of the day I’m very convinced that you are to be judged on how you are as a husband and as a father and not on how many bowl games you’ve won. I’ve not seen my two girls play high school sports and they are both very talented Division I volleyball players, so I missed those four years. I missed two already with one away at college.  I was blessed in a family that never missed anything, you’ve got to understand that, so I can’t get that time back. I made a commitment to them that when we came here, they were going to graduate from the same high school and they’ve done that. I made a commitment to them recently that I’m going to enjoy the rest of the years of their lives and that’s right now.”

 

On how he will handle the recruiting and recruits that have committed and if he will help:

“I talked to a handful of them already. I’m going to make a bunch of calls here tonight and tomorrow. Florida is Florida. Florida always will be Florida. Last year with all the issues we put together a great class and great coaches here. I’m sure the coaching candidates will be fantastic; we’ve just got to get rolling. Obviously with all this early signing, timing is of the essence here. Absolutely I will help.”

 

About the irony of his last game being the Outback Bowl against the longest-tenured coach Joe Paterno:

“Someone made a comment that if Coach Paterno would have stepped down at my age, it would have been 1972. We’re actually great friends and I can’t wait to see him, I think I see him tomorrow.”

 

On when he met with the team:

“Well it was tough. I met with them today at 2 p.m. We have a couple of our guys here and for the most part they are very gracious. I want to do this thing right and our seniors are one of the winningest classes in the history of Florida Football and we want to send them out as winners against Penn State.”

 

On how he feels about his decision:

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate what this University has done for myself and my family. More importantly, I would say I’ve received about 175 text messages of good wishes from (former linebacker) Ryan Stamper and some of the great players I’ve been fortunate to coach here.  I think of what they have built and I think it’s cool to walk around the stadium and see what we have built, what we have built upon even in the 90s and in tradition. I think of the ’06 team and it will go down as one of the most over-achieving and hard-working teams I’ve ever had. The ’08 team will probably go down in my opinion, I’m a little biased, as one of the greatest teams in college football history. To see what they are doing across the NFL – and when you look at the statistics of that team – I think it’s hard to say it’s not one of the top three or four teams in the history of the game – so a lot of great memories and I’m very proud of what we’ve done.”

 

On whether this season played a role in his decision and how involved he’ll be with his children:

“No, not at all. I don’t think that the struggles this season did (play a role) – you can fix struggles. It was a different timing in my family’s lives and if they weren’t involved in sports and involved in all the things a dad should be at, it might be different. But I want to make it clear. That’s it – that’s the reason. I think you know that last year was a wake-up call, and to see my beautiful daughter Gigi over there signing a National Letter of Intent to go to Florida Gulf Coast and I’ve not seen the school yet – I guarantee I’m going to go see it. I’m going to put a resume together and try to be a Gatorball assistant baseball coach this spring. I’ve not put a resume together in a long time – I might have to have a little help with the interview process as well. I’m going to try and help them out a little bit.”

 

 

Jeremy Foley, University of Florida Athletic Director

Opening Statement:

“First, I want to give my sincere thanks to Urban for what he has done for this athletic program. I watched him every day with admiration in building this program to what it is today and I saw the efforts, the dedication, the commitment, the competitiveness and, like I said, I watched him with admiration because he came here with a goal, he built it and he did it. His commitment to UF was unmatched, his commitment to his team was unmatched and we had a heck of a ride together.  When he and I met in Utah six years ago, he spent as much time talking about the environment here as he did about anything else, and what kind of environment would be here.  It was a foxhole environment, where we were all in there together moving towards the same goal. It was my privilege to be there in that foxhole with him and my staff’s privilege to be in there with him, because he appreciated us being there.  He always made it clear that whatever success we had here was not him alone, it was his staff, and he never stopped saying thank you to people.  As much as I treasure the championships - and we had a great run - and we had some great nights in Atlanta, Glendale, and Miami, but more than anything else, I will remember and treasure is his friendship. He and I are joined at the hip in some way and some fashion and it will always be that way.  Now we turn to the future. This is the third time I have been through this process and I understand the interest that it generates. That is good because it says a lot about Florida and we will begin immediately to develop candidates.  We know the expectations here, we have the same type of expectations, no matter what type of job it is, we know the challenges and we look forward to moving ahead. Just so you know, it is hard to comment about searches publicly because they change every single day and obviously I cannot respond to every single rumor. In coaching searches, no matter what sport, you have to get in front of them and you need to find out if they are a fit. Not just if they can coach, but if they are a fit for this institution, for this community, for this athletic program, and likewise, are we a fit for them?  Certainly recruiting is affected here, but were not going to move too fast because we want the right person and with the job Urban left here, we are going to have a large number of candidates.  Just like when (men’s basketball coach) Billy Donovan left for a brief time – it was a sad day because something good was ending and that’s kind of how I feel today. For me, personally, it is an okay day because I know Urban is okay and I know he is at peace with his decision and I know the University of Florida is going to be fine.  We have been blessed for six years to have this guy coaching this team and being a part of this University and we will always be blessed because that happened.”

 

On the timetable for finding a new coach:

“Well you have people who are coaching and I think we always have to be respectful of that and if someone is currently coaching, we have to take that into consideration. I think two or two and a half weeks and I don’t see any reason why it should take longer than that. I’m confident that we can get this done in two, or two and a half weeks.”

 

On waiting for a current coach who is in a January bowl game:

“Well that’s what we went through with Urban. He had a special season and his team was 12-0 and he deserved to coach that game and he coached the Fiesta Bowl that year, so that would not be an issue for us at all.  We want to find the right person, but we would want them to leave in good straights and in the right way, so we would have to be respectful of that.”

 

On whether anyone has been contacted about the position: 

“No I haven’t contacted anyone.  Now of course according to some emails I have gotten and according to some websites that isn’t true, but trust me because I have not contacted anybody.”

 

On whether the decision for Urban to return 11 months ago was a good one:

“I don’t have any second guesses about what we did last year. First of all we’re talking about one of the best coaches in the history of the game. The best situation would have been if I was to sit down and Urban Meyer would still be our coach twenty years from now because he’s one of the best. But that didn’t happen, and for all the right reasons. I think it did work because now he’s at peace with his life and he wasn’t at peace a year ago and I think this institution helped him get there.”

 

On what he said to Urban:

“We will miss him as our football coach and I will miss the fact that I won’t get to go to work with him every day. He’s been there for six years and we’ve talked about a million different things; good things, tough things, funny things, but he won’t be there anymore and that is the toughest part about this conversation.”

 

 

Senior Mike Pouncey

On Coach Meyer’s situation and his impact at UF:

“We’re very supportive. Coach has changed a lot of lives at this program and obviously he turned this program around from nothing. When coach told us, just like last year, we are always very supportive. Florida is going to be Florida like its always been. It’s a great program.”

 

On his reaction to the announcement:

“We were a little surprised, but I know that we know coach is going to do the best thing he can and his family is first.”

 

On his best memory of Coach Meyer:

“For me, it was winning that (2008) National Championship game. The last drive when we went down to score, he looked us all in the eye and told us if we go down and score then we’re National Champions. I could tell that that was one of the best moments that I’ll always remember.”

 

About leaving an NFL ticket in will call for Coach Meyer:

“Oh yes of course, he’s always welcome with my family and like I said, we’ll be friends until the end.”

 

 

Senior Ahmad Black

On how Coach Meyer impacted him:

“He impacted me from the minute I got here, but I think the number one thing that he did was help me become a better man. I came out of high school as an 18-year-old kid – jumping into something like this changed me a lot.”

 

On his hopes for Coach Meyer:

“I think he’s going to catch a lot of his daughter’s games. Obviously he has a great family and I think he’ll enjoy his time off.”

 

On his best memory of Coach Meyer:

“I think mine was in the (2008) National Championship game when I caught the interception. I thought he was going to kill me when he asked me if I caught that ball on the sideline before they showed the replay.  He was in my face grilling me if I caught the ball or not – even if I didn’t, I would have still told him yes.”

 

On the Outback Bowl Game and its importance for the seniors:

“It’s very important, that’s one of the things that we’re saying right now. We all want to go out as winners and even though the season hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to, this last game is going to make a big impact on a lot of people.”

 

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