New contract makes Meyer SEC's highest paid coach


Said Urban Meyer: "I continue to be very thankful and appreciative for everything the University of Florida and the athletic program has done for me and my family."

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Published: Monday, August 3, 2009 at 12:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 3, 2009 at 12:48 p.m.

Florida football coach Urban Meyer's reward for winning a second national championship in three years is a new six-year contract that will pay him $4 million annually.

The agreement makes Meyer the highest-paid coach in the SEC and third-highest in college football.

"Coach Meyer has certainly proven to be one of the top college football coaches in the country and should be compensated as such," UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement released by UF on Monday. "We are proud he is our coach and we appreciate all that he has done for the Gators."

UF president Bernie Machen said in the spring that Meyer would be getting a new contract after leading the Gators to their second national title in the last three years. He said at the SEC Spring Meetings that Meyer was the best coach in college football and deserved to be compensated accordingly.

"I believe that Urban Meyer is the best at what he does," Machen said in a statement released by UF on Monday. "He demands excellence of his players on the field and in the classroom. Not only did the University of Florida win a national championship in January, but all 13 seniors received degrees and the 2008 football team tied an SEC league record with 37 players named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. We're proud he's a Gator."

Meyer's new contract runs through the 2014 season, which should put an end to recent rumors about Meyer possibly leaving UF for Notre Dame after the 2009 season. He had four years left on his previous contract that was worth $3.25 million per year. Meyer made $375,000 in bonuses last season for winning the BCS national and SEC titles and finishing in the top 10.

UF's assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Charlie Strong who made $290,000 last season also are expected to receive raises. Their contracts are still being reworked for the upcoming season.

Meyer shot down the rumors earlier this summer when he said he loved it at Florida and was not going anywhere.

"I continue to be very thankful and appreciative for everything the University of Florida and the athletic program has done for me and my family," Meyer said in a statement released by UF. "Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and the community make this a special place and Im honored to be a part of it.

Meyer will be the highest-paid coach in the SEC, just slightly ahead of Alabama's Nick Saban ($3.9 million a year) and LSU's Les Miles ($3.8 million a year). Southern California's Pete Carroll is college football's highest paid coach at a reported $4.4 million per year, followed by Notre Dames Charlie Weiss ($4.2 million).

In his four seasons at UF, Meyer has compiled a record of 44-9 and led the Gators to two SEC titles and two national championships. He is the first coach to win two BCS National Championships. Meyer is 12-1 against UF's biggest rivals Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee and Miami.

Since 2005, the University Athletic Association has contributed $17.3 million to the University of Florida, including logo revenue.

Meyer co-chairs a campus charge to raise $50 million for UF's Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. The program was created by Machen to provide financial assistance to first-generation, financially disadvantaged students working toward a bachelor's degree. Meyer has made a $1 million commitment to FSO that will be paid over the course of his new contract.

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