Foley, Meyer to work out contract extension


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
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Sports Illustrated's edition of Florida's national championship win hits newsstands today.

Florida coach Urban Meyer has a full plate with the NCAA Coaches Convention this week and recruiting the rest of the month. But eventually, the newly-crowned national championship coach will sit down with UF athletic director Jeremy Foley to discuss a contract extension.
Meyer, who earned $150,000 in bonuses with the victory Monday night on top of $475,000 in bonus money already accumulated, currently has five years remaining on a $2 million-a-year contract.
"At some point in time, we'll sit down to discuss it," Foley said Wednesday. "We have an obligation to take care of our coaches."
Foley said the new $4 million-a-year contract given to Nick Saban by Alabama has no bearing on the extension that will be discussed with Meyer.
"One coach does not set the market," Foley said.
Foley and Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan discussed a contract extension after Florida won the national title in men's basketball, but Donovan decided to postpone the finalization of a new deal until after this season.
Of course, Donovan had all of his starters returning. Meyer does not have that luxury and could lose five juniors to the NFL. Reggie Nelson, Jarvis Moss and Ryan Smith are expected to leave early. Smith, who graduated early from Utah, has talked with teammates about being ready to stop going to school, according to sources, and made noises as if he had played his last game at UF despite being told by the NFL he could go "as high as the fifth round."
Andre Caldwell said in Arizona before the game that he has already made his decision and would announce it this week. Brandon Siler, according to sources, still has a decision to make.
One thing Meyer does have that he didn't have a week ago - he's eligible for consideration for the UF Ring of Honor. By winning a national championship, Meyer has met one of the guidelines, although Florida almost certainly would wait until after he's done as the UF coach to consider it.
The Ring of Honor was established during the season and includes Emmitt Smith, Jack Youngblood, Danny Wuerffel and Steve Spurrier.
Wuerffel was among those who called to congratulate Meyer on the national title, as did President George W. Bush Tuesday morning. President Bush told Meyer he watched the game and was impressed with the Gator team. Florida has yet to find out when it will visit the White House.
Florida will celebrate its second national championship in nine months on Saturday at The Swamp. But three members of the team won't be able to make it.
Seniors Joe Cohen, Steve Rissler and Reggie Lewis will be playing in the Hula Bowl on Sunday.
"It's a pretty good deal," Rissler said after the win over Ohio State. "Win a national championship and then head to Hawaii."
Gator fans attending the game will see the unveiling of "2006" added to "1996 National Champions." The "2006" was added to the south facade for the SEC Champions section days after Florida beat Arkansas.
By the time next season comes around, the symbols of Florida's greatest success will be replaced. Instead of them being painted on the wall, signs similar to those for the Ring of Honor will be installed to honor Florida's SEC and national champions as well as its two Heisman Trophy winners.
"That was something that was in the works before we won another national title," said Foley. "We have a company working on that. With the signs we have for the Ring of Honor, to look down to the other end and see the numbers painted on the wall wasn't sufficient anymore."
  • NOTE: Saturday's celebration will be broadcasted live on Sun Sports (Gainesville channel 48) at noon, with replay broadcasts at 1 p.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. Monday and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
    Contact Pat Dooley at 374-5053 or dooleyp@gvillesun.com.
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