Daily Football Fix: Would Harvin make a good coach?

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Florida Gators standout Percy Harvin visited a spring practice at the Sanders Practice Fields on the UF campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

There are no statues honoring him outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium yet, but an argument can be made for Percy Harvin as the greatest football player in Florida history.

Harvin was the offensive catalyst for two of UF’s three national title teams. In 2006, Florida does not get to the national title game without Harvin’s combined 167 yards of rushing and receiving and two TDs in UF’s 38-28 SEC championship win over Arkansas. In 2008, the Gators don’t win the BCS title over Oklahoma without Harvin’s 171 yards of offfense and one TD.

Harvin’s greatness at Florida was at times overshadowed by off-field issues and bouts with migraine headaches that occasionally sidelined him. Back living in Gainesville, Harvin discussed his issues with migraines and social anxiety disorder at length with Sports Illustrated reporter Michael McKnight. Florida head coach Dan Mullen, who recruited Harvin to UF as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, has invited the 30-year-old Harvin to UF’s football facilities to mentor current players. According to the SI article, Harvin also is back enrolled in classes in Florida to finish his degree in psychology.

“He’s young enough that our players have seen him play; they’ve seen his success in the NFL,” Mullen told SI. “Hey, here’s the standard, I’ve done it and it helped me be successful.”

Could Harvin’s second act at Florida wind up being coaching? Harvin told SI that he’s found new mechanisms to deal with his impulsive behavior. He disputed a Sporting News report in 2012 that he choked UF receivers Billy Gonzales coach to the ground in a practice during his playing days.

“First of all, he’s a grown man,” Harvin told SI. “Like he’s gonna let a kid choke him with no consequences. It wasn’t anything close to choking. Did we have disagreements? Of course. We had a lot of egos on that team, a lot of guys who wanted touches.”

Gonzales has referred to the report as “overblown” as well.

There is more to coaching than being a mentor, and Harvin would need to prove his worth as a teacher and as a recruiter. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a former icon like Harvin on staff, provided he remains on his current positive path.

 

 

34 COMMENTS

  1. In a word = “NO”. Unless coaching now involves smoking weed, sulking and sitting-out conditioning drills, and putting one’s self above the team. I often wondered if “migraine” was a euphemism for “drug test”. Harvin was undoubtedly a great player. Imagine how great he could have been had he exercised self-discipline and cared more about his team mates than himself. There are reasons he spent time in more than one pro locker room. Even though Tebow overshadowed him (though not as gifted), Harvin should have been a team leader and favorite. Instead, his team mates rarely mentioned him. Character counts, even if it was in short supply on more than one of Urban’s teams.

      • Yes. Nothing has changed. The excuses are merely more sophisticated. So, the lesson is: you can do all the wrong things I did, and if you are talented enough, and are able to afford a PC diagnosis to get you off the hook, you can return to campus, be a hero, and still enjoy “high quality weed”…. Total BS. This is a convenient way to also let Mullen off the hook for letting him get away with his antics.

        • T. I prefer the more positive view expressed in the actual article; and the fact that Harvin is back getting his degree and helping the current players (I am sure he can be a perfect example as how to not handle yourself with coaches). And the fact that he mentioned that he has found ways to deal with his social disorder, and that is an illness that can be treated effectively.

      • I did read the article, and it doesn’t take much to see beyond the BS. Let’s see… he stiffed the press on the first go-round because of a temper tantrum with Mama (who still mostly lives with him, and apparently baby-sits his self-indulgent moodiness), it took almost 8 years to be diagnosed with a mental illness that most clinicians can spot on the first visit and that is actually quite easily treatable with current non-hallucinogenic pharmacology, he sports around town in his Bentley – apparently to showcase his newfound humility – and smokes “high quality cannabis” in the same car in which he transports his young, impressionable son – and no doubt quite safely under the influence since it is just a matter of time before the rest of society catches up with his advanced sociological premises, he lectures current players on relations with fans after having no problems with consistently dissing his own fans, he spends an inordinate amount of narcissistic effort working-out, but doesn’t actually work at any productive job or public service…shall I go on?
        Yeah – he’s a changed man alright. He’s changed his alibis so convincingly that a life-long pampered jerk of an athlete has remade himself into Mr. Respectable. Let’s hope few, if any, of the current players choose to emulate him.

  2. Greatest athlete, probably. Greatest player, not even close. Those in the ring of honor, and the one about to be installed there, meant more to UF football than Harvin. There are other players, notably Tebow, that UF doesn’t win the 2008 NC game without, who UF could rely upon for leadership, not just athleticism. UF won the epic 2008 1 vs. 2 SEC champ game vs. Bama with Harvin on the sideline. And I DID read the article. You can move forward, and I hope Harvin does, but you can’t erase history or histrionics.

    • Steve. Florida does not beat Oklahoma for the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP with Harvin on the sidelines. And Harvin could have played in that game, but he was not needed in that SEC title game vs. Bama. They certainly needed him the following year. But he was in the NFL by then and Tebow was still the QB.

  3. Yes. Nothing has changed. The excuses are merely more sophisticated. So, the lesson is: you can do all the wrong things I did, and if you are talented enough, and are able to afford a PC diagnosis to get you off the hook, you can return to campus, be a hero, and still enjoy “high quality weed”…. Total BS. This is a convenient way to also let Mullen off the hook for letting him get away with his antics.

    • I’m curious, did you do asinine things when you were 18-22? I did and those were the four years I was in the military. But I wasn’t doing the same dumb things ten years later. Are you?

      Percy Harvin has grown up, gotten some help. Is he perfect now? Probably not, that’s a high standard. But if the man does have his act together, what better coach/mentor than a former player?

      • No, actually I didn’t. And during the 7 years I spent in the military soldiers who did “asinine things” were disciplined, busted, fined, and often discharged. Dumb things get fellow soldiers killed in units that actually do the fighting, so they are also not particularly well accepted by real adult soldiers. The SI article did not impart to me a sense that he has gotten his act together, only that he has buffed his image with enough BS that people can finally rationalize idolizing a sports jerk.

  4. ”Those who are WITHOUT SIN, let them cast the 1st stone.” (especially talking about a person’s ”character”). -A man from 2,000 yrs. ago, Jesus of Nazereth.
    I know God has glorified Himself (and rightly so) through some amazing U.F. athletes in Gainesville (several times), but man, there are some straight-up ”sinless people.” Wow! Who knew?

  5. You can tell without looking that it’s still July and not yet Sept 1st, when we’ve gone through dabbling in left-right politics, touched on religion, and are now discussing a fellow Gator’s character that we don’t even know personally.

    That said, GI has a good point, doesn’t he? Personally, I’d rather we let it go. It’s Percy Harvin, not Mac, not Lane Kiffin, not Chip Kelly, not Joe Alleva………….it’s Percy Harvin, one of us for better or worse.

  6. Boy, what positive comments herein…not. Theses assessments should really play well in the eyes of Florida’s critics. I for one, give Percy a lot of credit for returning to school and turning his life towards being positive by mentoring, speaking highly of our Coach, and helping to enhance the overall program at Florida. Whether he warrants a nomination to the ring of honor is up to the evaluation committee but no one benefits from these personal negative comments. I am sure Percy must read these comments but just know that, that’s the way it is today. The good and the bad are among the social media. IMO, Percy deserves whatever he can earn in life and I think I speak for the majority of Gator Nation, when I offer him the best for his future. Percy is a great Gator! I hope he remain in Gainesville and continues to grow as a person and also continues to make positive contributions to the Florida program whether that be as a coach or program supporter. Go Gators!

  7. Well now it’s truly a blessing when someone take other people inventory! Again have him come back with the attitude towards GATOR NATION “I WILLING TO HELP ANYWAY I CAN” to me show mature realizes how this football field have him his lifestyle that he living! To Mr PERCY IF YOU WANT all your INJURIES healed call DR.PANNAZZO 561-381-5800 OR GO TO U-TUBE WATCH HIM ALL YOUR INJURIES FIXED WITHOUT SURGERY!!!!! YES , I SAY AGAIN HE A SPORT INJURIES SPECIALIST LOOK HIM UP!!!!!! GOD BLESSINGS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

  8. Percy and 500 other guys could turn out to be great coaches. Remember Steve Spurrier got fired as an assistant at Florida…this is a tough business.
    I don’t mind him arguing with coach Gonzalez. Players need to argue with coaches behind the scenes. Hearing about it is not so good. And you gotta be able to power through your issues which is the only question mark to me.

    Why not go back and play and prove what you’ve mastered Percy? Proving you can coach yourself is step 1 imo. I look forward to to your continued success whatever path you follow.

  9. Wishing Harvin nothing but success in getting his degree and taking a much more positive direction in his life, and with recognizing and dealing with his social behavior disorder. That smile by him in the photo shows to me that he is dealing with that very effectively in public. Hopefully, Percy will be able to earn back the recognition he earned on the field but lost due to behavior off the field.

  10. First, reading that Harvin is now thirty reminded me of how old I am. Yikes. Hey. People learn and change. Very cool that he is back in school and moving on with his life, learning lessons. Maybe he will put out a book sharing what he has learned about impulse control, and I will finally be able to stop obsessively reading what people post here!

  11. I think it’s great that Percy is finishing school and maybe wants to find positive ways to contribute and dare I say, give back. Did he have his personal issues……yup. Is he redeemable…. yup!

    Unlike the popular sentiment, I don’t believe you can erase history. So what has happened, has happened, whether it is right or wrong.

    I also don’t believe you give someone a pass just because they were an 18 year old college kid…with the justification that “well, I was stupid as an 18 year old too”. That doesn’t make it right. It just means we were immature..and stupid…and thrill seeking…etc. But you still could’ve/should’ve been held accountable. That said, making a mistake or bad decision or exercising bad judgment should not condemn you for life. You may have to pay a price, but it doesn’t mean you should be locked away from society forever.

    So good luck Percy Harvin!!! We enjoyed watching you for three years and you gave the Gator Nation a lot of thrills. You obviously did a few things that maybe you’d wish you’d done differently…though I’m not trying to put words in your mouth. But if that’s the case, we should all forgive and forget and move on and enjoy the new Percy Harvin. I know a man who walked the earth 2000 years ago who would agree with that 🙂

  12. Percy is the greatest wide receiver in Gator history — incredible quickness, excellent speed, superb upper body strength and great hands. Percy and Emmitt are the best non-quarterback offensive players in Gator history. Without Percy, no national championships under Coach Meyer. Percy was the kind of player that made those around him in the football field much better because the defense always has to account for him and usually overcompensate. The year after he left Florida you could see how much the offense missed him. Yes, he had issues but let’s give Percy tons of credit and support for coming back to get a degree and hopefully better the lives of younger Gator players.

  13. Did you nasties not see him play? Going to Florida Field and watching the genius of a great athlete in orange and blue is what all this shite should be about. Try to remember the joy Percy Harvin brought. It’s not about you

  14. I certainly was thrilled to watch Percy play for the Gators, and always felt that had he returned for his senior season, we probably would have won that “third in four years” national championship in 2009. He was THAT
    important to the offense. It is to be hoped that Percy will indeed complete his turnaround, and become as big an asset off the field as he was on it.

  15. While I disagree with those who condemn him for life because of past mistakes, having read both articles, I still don’t think he is ready to coach. To me it sounds like he is a decent person with some problems that he is working through and getting better. I have always had the impression that he is a good man at his core, but with some emotional and psychological problems. With his anxiety, I think the pressure of coaching could be a problem. Better to have him as a friend of the program and occasional mentor in the background, without the stress.

    If he does decide to get into coaching, I think Mullen hiring him would be much like the mistake of hiring family. If it comes time to fire him, and can be difficult and ugly. If he decides to pursue coaching, let him god and prove himself elsewhere before bringing him to Florida.