UF students react to coach's exit with dismay, relief


Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.

University of Florida students expressed shock at news of Urban Meyer's resignation, but some said they were relieved a season of disappointment would end in change.

Wednesday marked the last day of classes for the fall semester, so many students hadn't yet heard the news by late afternoon as they finished up and prepared for final exams. Several students were more upset with Meyer than understanding, despite him bringing the Gators two national championships in his six seasons as head football coach.

Junior food and resource economics major Ben Meyers said he expected fans would be relieved after questions of Meyer's commitment to the job and a disappointing season.

"I think in general people will be pretty happy about it whether they say it or not," he said.

Freshman nuclear engineering major Kyle Cooprider said it seemed like Meyer was quitting on the team, but he understood if Meyer was doing so because of his health or family.

"If he's doing it for the right reasons, then I can't say I'm disappointed," Cooprider said.

Senior pre-med student Matt Doenges expressed "utter disbelief" at hearing the news. It was a shame that Meyer was leaving after his first season without Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow, Doenges said.

"I think he should have stuck around for a little bit longer … At the same time, I don't want a coach that's having health complications," he said.

Sophomore civil engineering major Chris Bailey said fans expect better than Meyer's record this season and that pressure on him likely was to increase. He said he was worried about the resignation's impact on recruiting but appreciated what Meyer had done for the program.

"It's going to take longer to rebuild, but I'm not going to bash the guy because he was one of our best coaches," he said.

Sophomore biology major Luci Ciko said Meyer should be lauded for winning two national championships and that she'd rather see offensive coordinator Steve Addazio leave. Sophomore chemical engineering major Colby Burtt expressed similar sentiments but said anyone could see that the job was too much for Meyer.

"It's kind of disappointing (but) you can definitely tell there were some underlying problems," Burtt said.

Students speculated on whether Meyer would become coach of the Denver Broncos to rejoin Tebow and possible replacements that included Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, both former Gator assistants.

Meyers, who's president of the UF Student Senate, said he hoped the next coach would be committed to the job.

"Now hopefully we can get some real leadership," he said.

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com.

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