Urban Meyer will join ESPN
Published: Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
Former Florida coach Urban Meyer has landed what appears to be the perfect job, one that will give him plenty of face time with the family and allow him to stay connected to the game he loves — college football.
"I was fortunate to try something over national championship week (working with ESPN)," Meyer said Monday. "Shelley and I spent a lot of time talking about it, a lot of time. I don't sit around very well, and I want to stay around college football. I was really hoping something like this would materialize after the national championship game."
It materialized Monday with an announcement from ESPN that Meyer will be a college football game and studio analyst for the network. He starts work right away, debuting in his new job Wednesday for ESPNU's 10-hour National Signing Day Special.
ESPN said Meyer will work a weekly regular-season game (specific assignments to be determined) and select bowl games. He will also provide studio analysis throughout the year on ESPN’s daily College Football Live program, NFL Draft, spring games and bowl games, including during the network’s on-site BCS coverage.
In addition, Meyer will contribute to ESPN’s Saturday morning College GameDay show, making a weekly appearance from his game site.
Meyer basically had a tryout with the network during bowl season and at the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz., that led to Monday's announcement.
"I got invited to Bristol, Conn., over the holidays with my family," Meyer said. "I hoped I would like it. I wanted to stay around college football. This has been my life for as long as I can remember. I not only liked it, I loved it. They're great people and it's an opportunity to stay around the game."
Meyer said the job allows him to stay involved in football without having to sacrifice significant time with his family.
"In the offseason, it's going to be minimal," he said. "During the season, it will be weekends, Friday and Saturday. It's a lot different than what I've been used to the past 25 years. I'm excited to do it.
"I've had conversations with the family, and they're fired up, they're excited. I'm still going to be able to spend as much time (with the family) as I would have hoped."
Meyer said there will be no conflict between his broadcasting career and the work (still to be determined) he will be doing in the UF athletic department, where he still has an office.
"I'm going to work directly with (athletic director) Jeremy Foley in the (UF) Foundation and help in that aspect," Meyer said. "That has not been finalized yet. It will not have an impact on what I do with ESPN."
Meyer said in his job as analyst, he will not criticize coaches or players, but that he will offer strong opinions (even on Florida) when they are warranted.
"It's not my job to be critical. My job is to analyze college football," he said. "I'm an analyst. I don't criticize. If I have a strong opinion one way or the other, I'm certainly going to do that."
When asked if he would feel awkward commenting on the Gators, Meyer said, "I'm very respectful of Florida and very respectful of the game. I won't know that until it happens. I think we have a great coach in Will Muschamp and Florida is a great program. Plus, I'm a Florida fan, and I'm not going to be ashamed of that."
ESPN would not reveal any details about Meyer's contract. Norby Williamson, the network's executive vice president of programing, said he expects Meyer to be at ESPN "for a long time."
"We're committed to Urban and he's committed to us," Williamson said.
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