Imagine for a moment that you are the CEO of a major corporation - the leader in its industry (widgets, likely). You live in a subtropical climate, close to two major bodies of water and attendant beaches. You have the adulation of your employees and your community. You make millions of dollars per year in salary. Hot wife, good kids, the world is truly your playground.
(Hey you - yeah, you. Shut up.)
Now imagine that an older, once-proud company in the Rust Belt came calling, asking you to take it over. It used to be an industry leader many decades ago but is now a shell of its former self. It’s been run into the ground by poor management despite its brand recognition. Think of, say, Chrysler. You’d have to take a pay cut, live in a crappy part of the country, and your employers would be bitter, hateful people who would blame you the first moment something went wrong. You’d tell them to shove it and you know it. Just like Urban Meyer did to Notre Dame.
It’s a rumor that’s been making the rounds ever since Meyer stepped foot in Gainesville. Granted, Meyer hasn’t done much to dispel the whispers. But let’s look at the reality of things here. Never mind the national championships or new facilities at Florida, somehow people assume that a mediocre football team in Indiana could compete with any of what Meyer’s got at UF. Thankfully, he’s finally put those rumors to rest, according to Pat Dooley of GATORSPORTS.COM:
Meyer was talking about the “nonsense” that came up again last week when a column by Paul Finebaum in the Mobile paper indicated (again) that Meyer is leaving Florida for Notre Dame after this season.
… Meyer turned back to the golfers and said, “I’m not going to Notre Dame. Ever. I’m going to be the coach at Florida for a long time, as long as they want me.”
But, but, but…he’s named for a pope! He’s got to go to the Catholic school, right?!
No. He does not. Notre Dame, despite its name recognition, is irrelevant on the college football stage and has been for a while. Sure, they’ve got the NBC contract and aren’t hurting for money, but the era when they could outmaneuver and outspend state universities, if it truly ever existed, is long gone. Meyer’s got a damn fine machine rolling in Florida and he knows it. Northern schools can’t compete with everything he’s got to offer in Gainesville.
Cynics will, of course, bring up Nick Saban’s famous denials about taking the Alabama job, but that’s an unfair comparison - Saban has long had a reputation as somewhat of an amoral mercenary. These are accusations Meyer has never faced - well, from anyone other than jealous opposing fans. Notre Dame may yet find a way to work itself back to prominence, but it won’t be with Urban Meyer, and it probably won’t happen until they realize that rebuilding a football program consists of more than just hiring the most famous coach available.