Florida coach Urban Meyer agrees to new 6-year contract
GAINESVILLE - Florida coach Urban Meyer has agreed to a new 6-year contract worth $4 million annually.
“Coach Meyer has certainly proven to be one of the top college football coaches in the country and should be compensated as such,'' UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statment Monday afternoon. "We are proud he is our coach and we appreciate all that he has done for the Gators.”
With his new raise, Meyer becomes the highest-paid coach in the SEC - for now. Alabama's Nick Saban will earn $3.9 million this season, but is said to be in line for a new deal that will put him over $4 million. And LSU coach Les Miles earns approximately $3.75 million.
All three have won national championships.
Meyer's salary increase will be funded through University Athletic Association funds and will not come from any state money. The idea of Meyer receiving a raise has come under fire recently after the university was forced to cut $40 million from its budget.
UF president Bernie Machen said following last month's UAA budget meeting that he understands why some would object to the raise, but said Meyer deserved the raise based on what he's done for the program.
“I believe that Urban Meyer is the best at what he does,’’ Machen said. “He demands excellence of his players on the field and in the classroom. Not only did the University of Florida win a national championship in January, but all 13 seniors earned degrees and the 2008 football team tied an SEC
league record with 37 players named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. We’re proud he’s a Gator.”
In four seasons at Florida, Meyer has won two national championships and compiled a 44-9 record. He is 24-8 in SEC play.
And with that success has come the athletic department's added ability to offer financial aid to the school. The UAA gave UF $6 million this year to help with its budget deficit. Since 2005, the UAA has given $17.3 million to the university.
Meyer is also involved in giving back to the school. He is the co-chair of a UF campaign to raise $50 million for the school's Florida Opportunity Scholars program, and has committed $1 million to that fund to be paid during the life of his new contract.
The program offers financial assistance to first-generation, economically-disadvantaged students who are seeking a bachelor's degree at UF.
"I continue to be very thankful and appreciative for everything the University of Florida and the athletic program has done for me and my family,'' Meyer said in a statement.