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Urban Meyer Coached at University of Utah (U of U) Utes Before the University of Florida (UF) Gators

April 22nd, 2022

Before coach Urban Meyer attained household name fame by leading the University of Florida to two national championships he had a very successful stint at the University of Utah (U of U), based in Salt Lake City, that earned him the opportunity to take his coaching skills to a more high profile program where he exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.

Many people associate the head coach of the Florida Gators with his most recent prolific quarterback Tim Tebow but fewer folks realize that when Tebow was still in high school Coach Urban Meyer sent another quarterback to the NFL as the number one overall pick. The top NFL draft pick that Meyer coached was Alex Smith who like Tim Tebow put up very impressive collegiate statistics from the quarterback position.

Urban Meyer, now considered one of the most premier coaches in college football, paid his dues and rose up through the college ranks by proving himself a winner over the course of his career. After bouncing around for the first half of his career as an assistant at Ohio State (two years), Illinois State (two years), Colorado State (six years), and Notre Dame (five years) Meyer got his first head coaching opportunity in 2001 at Bowling Green. During his two years at Bowling Green he turned around a failing program into a winner that went 17-6 during his time there.

The Bowling Green University success as well as the pedigree of assistant coaching jobs earned Urban Meyer the head coaching position at the University of Utah, a job he accepted in 2003. Meyer wasted no time establishing himself as a prominent figure amongst his competition as he went 10-2 in his first season and was awarded the honor of Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year. The Sporting News went as far as to name Meyer the National Coach of the Year (the only Utah coach to attain this recognition).

Urban followed up his outstanding 2003 campaign with an even more successful encore in 2004 when he led the Utah Utes to an undefeated season in which the squad tallied 12 wins and 0 losses. The regular season success boosted the University of Utah into the Bowl Championship Series which was a tall order considering that a team from a non-automatically qualifying conference (commonly referred to as the BCS conferences) had never earned an invitation to a BCS game before (a system established in 1998). The legendary season for the University of Utah and Coach Urban Meyer ended in storybook fashion as the Utah Utes beat the Pittsburgh Panthers (of the mighty Big East Conference) in the Fiesta Bowl held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Although Urban Meyer left the University of Utah for new challenges after only two seasons his contributions remain as he played a substantial role in bringing the program into national prominence.

Due to health concerns the future coaching career of the man who seems to have the Midas touch is in question. It’s difficult to say how the hall of fame caliber coach mentally ranks his coaching experiences in terms of preference but considering the success (22-2 record) he had in Salt Lake City it’s probably safe to assume in his closet somewhere he has a pair of University of Utah Slippers [] buried away next to an old Bowling Green visor.