Spurrier withdraws as UF coach candidate


Published: Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 10:58 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 4, 2004 at 10:58 a.m.

The visor is gone for good.

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"I feel it is time to clear the air and support Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and President Bernie Machen as they search for the best coach available to lead the Gators back to the top of the Southeastern Conference. Go Gators."

File photo

Steve Spurrier on Thursday morning withdrew his name from consideration for the vacant Florida coaching job, Spurrier, the most successful coach in Florida history, phoned UF athletic director Jeremy Foley Thursday morning to deliver the news. He then phoned several close friends including former UF coach Ray Graves.

As first reported by The Sun, Spurrier said he decided he want a new challenge. Sources close to Spurrier said the old ball coach still may coach again, either in the NFL or at another college.

In a statement, Spurrier said, "I have informed Jeremy Foley, our athletic director, that I am withdrawing from consideration for the head coaching position at my alma mater.

"When I departed three years ago there were several reasons why I believed it was time to move on. Other than simply wanting to coach in the NFL someday, I also believed that 12 years at Florida was probably long enough. Many people in football believe that around 10-12 years in the same job is about the maximum time a coach should stay.

"We Gators had a wonderful run for 12 years, seven division championships in 10 years, seven SEC championships and the ultimate, the l996 National Championship. As the Gator coach I simply believed I'd had my day in the sun and I've had my nights in the domes, the Georgia Dome and the Superdome, where we had five championship celebrations.

"I have had an excellent relationship with Jeremy Foley for many years. He called me several times this week trying to set up a meeting after the season with him and President Machen. They were obviously making an effort to meet with me.

"I personally thank all our Gator players from l990 through 2001, our assistant coaches, our staff, the alumni and students, and all Gator football fans for their role in making all these championships a reality.

"I have not been offered any coaching job by any team, and I'm not searching for one. My coaching career with the Gators ended at the Orange Bowl on January 2, 2002.

"I feel it is time to clear the air and support Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and President Bernie Machen as they search for the best coach available to lead the Gators back to the top of the Southeastern Conference. Go Gators."

Steve Spurrier's Complete Statement:

"I have informed Jeremy Foley, our athletic director, that I am withdrawing from consideration for the head coaching position at my alma mater.

"When I departed three years ago there were several reasons why I believed it was time to move on. Other than simply wanting to coach in the NFL someday, I also believed that 12 years at Florida was probably long enough. Many people in football believe that around 10-12 years in the same job is about the maximum time a coach should stay.

"We Gators had a wonderful run for 12 years, seven division championships in 10 years, seven SEC championships and the ultimate, the l996 National Championship. As the Gator coach I simply believed I'd had my day in the sun and I've had my nights in the domes, the Georgia Dome and the Superdome, where we had five championship celebrations.

"I have had an excellent relationship with Jeremy Foley for many years. He called me several times this week trying to set up a meeting after the season with him and President Machen. They were obviously making an effort to meet with me.

"I personally thank all our Gator players from l990 through 2001, our assistant coaches, our staff, the alumni and students, and all Gator football fans for their role in making all these championships a reality.

"I have not been offered any coaching job by any team, and I'm not searching for one. My coaching career with the Gators ended at the Orange Bowl on January 2, 2002. "I feel it is time to clear the air and support Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and President Bernie Machen as they search for the best coach available to lead the Gators back to the top of the Southeastern Conference. Go Gators."

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