Florida Student Columnist to Gator Fans: Don’t Be Mad at Urban Meyer for Taking Ohio State Job

Former University of Florida football coach Urban Meyer is now a Buckeye. In a press conference coronation yesterday, Ohio State University announced what had been leaking in sporting news circles for a week: Meyer, the former Gainesville hero who led the Gators to two BCS titles, was relocating to Columbus– and pocketing uber-millions in a down economy (something The New York Times focused on).

How did the student press cover the news?  Both The Lantern at OSU and The Independent Florida Alligator at UF featured the story atop their respective homepages.

The Lantern also put together a graphic sampling OSU student responses to the hire– optimistic about his experience, intrigued about the new spread offense, excited about the positive influence Meyer will have on young Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller, and only slightly nervous that high expectations may not mesh with incoming NCAA sanctions.

In a separate, classy commentary, Lantern staffer Michael Periatt reminded students to not forget interim coach Luke Fickell.  “Maybe Fickell made some mistakes,” he writes.  “Maybe he was put in an impossible situation.  But Fickell took over the program at its lowest point, at a time when many wouldn’t touch it   And he did it without hesitation. . . . [T]his is Meyer’s team now.  He will be the face of the program. . . . But don’t forget about the coach that led them there– the coach that cared so much it almost brought him to tears.  The season may be forgettable, but the coach deserves to be remembered.”

The Alligator also took the high road Tuesday.  The most high-profile commentary, by sports editor Tom Green, is a call-to-arms for Gator fans to get over their anger at Meyer leaving UF and then popping up at another national powerhouse a year later. As the well-written piece begins:

“Since reports began to surface last week about former Florida coach Urban Meyer taking the job at Ohio State, I have heard a lot of different reactions from Gators fans.  Some feel betrayed. Some feel they were lied to.  Others are disappointed or frustrated with the way everything played out.  However, there’s one reaction I have yet to see from the Florida faithful– empathy.  I understand all the negative reactions from Florida fans; it’s frustrating to see your coach retire, and then come back not even a year later to take his ‘dream job.’  But that’s exactly what Meyer did.  He took his dream job.  The opportunity of a lifetime approached him, and when it knocked Monday, he answered.”

2 Responses to “Florida Student Columnist to Gator Fans: Don’t Be Mad at Urban Meyer for Taking Ohio State Job”
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