Shane: Spurrier or Meyer?

Who’s the best coach – Spurrier or Meyer?
By Shane from Centerpoint

Legendary football coach Steve Spurrier has always been one of the best at using the media to influence the public’s perception of an opposing coach. During a recent live radio interview with renowned sports talk-show host Paul Finebaum, Spurrier opened up a nasty wound in Florida coach Urban Meyer’s back – all while skillfully dodging Paul’s attempt to get his opinion on some public squabble between Meyer and former Gator quarterback Shane Matthews.

Steve proceeded to promote his own agenda by confirming for the Gator Nation that he believes Urban’s (publicly stated) desire to lead Notre Dame back to prominence to be absolute fact. Imagine, the “Bear” Bryant of Florida football planting a poison seed (Meyer leaving) in the heads of media geeks with nothing to do. By the way, Spurrier was using the Finebaum show as a recruiting tool. He knew exactly where he was and who would get the message. Not a bad play by the “ole ball coach”, huh?

Most of the insiders will tell you that Steve Spurrier will never coach the Gators again. I find that hard to believe, but apparently some power broker has more ego than brains. If Urban Meyer did leave Florida to coach the Irish, I couldn’t think of a better solution than bringing back Spurrier for 3-5 years. Imagine what he could do with the super talent that Meyer has assembled.

Look at the hard evidence. Coach “Visor” has been taking South Carolina (a third-world SEC school) to bowl games every year. Typically, South Carolina has been a “coach killer” institution. The promising careers of many young coaches have died there. The great Lou Holtz couldn’t save it – coaching the Gamecocks hastened the end for one of the toughest old birds to ever walk the sidelines when it wore Lou out. Do you get my point about SC yet? Is Steve Spurrier a great coach? Absolutely!

I believe Spurrier is really being sincere when he says that he wants to guide SC to previously unobtained goals, but I also know that — if he stays a Gamecock — he runs a very high risk of ending his career badly. Even the best can do only so much at South Carolina, where mediocre records are common and championships never happen.

Honestly, how bad does it sound? The great Steve Spurrier ends up retiring from a second rate, bottom-feeder like South Carolina?

Now, if Urban were to move to South Bend after the 2009 season finishes Charlie Weis off, Steve’s returning to lead the Gators for a 3-4 year stint would be a fantastic finish for one of the best coaches to ever coach the game. Spurrier could win “big” (and go out a winner)at Florida.

Besides, the Gator nation faces a much bigger loss than the “Urban turns Irish” thing – Tim Tebow is using his last year of eligibility. Yes! He will be gone. Finally, his reign of terror over the SEC will end. Can you handle losing Tebow (a modern day Jim Thorpe) and Urban Meyer (the hottest young coach in America) in the same year? A new head coach is very possible – a new quarterback is written in stone.

From Coach Meyer’s standpoint, Florida fans may be in for a reality check sooner than they think. Study the facts. What does Urban Meyer have left to prove at Florida? He has delivered two national championships in the last three years, with a very good chance of winning a third this year. There is nothing more he can do after that to make the fan base happier, but there are many things he can do to make them angry.

On the other hand, Notre Dame is hungry to return to the front of the pack. Those people are ready for national respect and BCS bowl games. As a result, the moneymen will have an open checkbook, and Urban Meyer would be a perfect fit.

If the Notre Dame deal does go down (I think it will), Florida fans should be thankful of Meyer for bringing excellence to the Gator Nation. He is a winner. In fact, I have no doubt that he will quickly return Notre Dame to its rightful place among the nation’s elite.

However, I’m convinced that the more interesting questions lie on the Florida side of the field. Who will Jeremy Foley turn to for guidance? Would Steve Spurrier be given serious consideration? If he wouldn’t be considered, name me somebody better than Spurrier? Come on! Quick! Bet you can’t!

It would be interesting to know how many Florida fans would want Spurrier back. I’d also like to find out how many Irish fans want Urban. Is Meyer going to become the first $5,000,000.00 (per year) college coach? Lastly, can Spurrier have a “magic” season, where his team stays healthy, the ball bounces right, and lady luck smiles his way?

Truthfully, I can’t judge who’s the better coach. They come from two very different backgrounds, but they usually get the same results – victories and championships. I can say that I would be honored for my son to spend four years playing for either man.

—Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.
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