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Urban Meyer says he'll be Florida Gators coach 'as long as they'll have me'

GAINESVILLE — Notre Dame fan Web sites are filled with the discussion, as is talk radio and even some Gators fan sites. Las Vegas sports books are placing odds on whether Florida coach Urban Meyer will be the next coach at Notre Dame.

But with his No. 1 team preparing to play Florida State on Saturday, then the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 5, Meyer placed his own odds on the chance he'll be coaching at Notre Dame next season, assuming coach Charlie Weis is fired.

Zero.

Meyer said he wanted to end the speculation right now.

"I'm ready to dispel it," Meyer said. "I'm going to be the coach at Florida as long as they'll have me. So I want to make that clear."

Meyer, 45, was an assistant at Notre Dame from 1996 to 2000 and has said that being the coach at Notre Dame was his dream job.

Before Meyer's statement, Florida QB Tim Tebow said he doesn't believe Meyer will ever be the Notre Dame coach.

"I think when he's ready to retire and he's done, which I don't think is now, I don't think it'll be for a little while, I don't think he'll be at Notre Dame," Tebow said. "I don't think that's anything he'll do now. I don't think he'll do that ever.

"I don't think he's really interested. I think he's enjoying being the head coach at the University of Florida and enjoying this senior class and being undefeated — we've won 21 in a row. I don't think that's really anything on his mind.

"I think he'll be here for a while because he loves it here. He loves working for Mr. Foley (Jeremy Foley, UF athletic director). He loves his players, and I don't think he wants to go to a place where he has to start fresh and start new. I don't think he wants to do that. I think he enjoys being here. It's the best place in football. I don't know why he would leave. I think he's enjoying it."

Guilford to be honored: Michael Guilford, the Florida walk-on quarterback who died in a motorcycle accident in 2007, will be remembered during a ceremony honoring Florida's senior class Saturday against FSU.

"We're going to invite his family down," an emotional Meyer said. "He's a part of this group. … That (his death) really stung this football team. He's got a terrific family. We're going to try to do the best we can to make sure that family feels at peace with what he did here. He was a phenomenal young man and a phenomenal member of this team. So he'll be part of senior day."

Emotional week: If Monday's news conference was any indication, Meyer isn't overstating it when he talks about this being an emotional week. He choked up and paused for nearly 27 seconds when he tried to talk about senior day for this year's senior class. He got emotional again and paused 15 seconds when speaking of Guilford. Then he needed 15 seconds to compose himself when asked about the impact Tebow has had on him.

"No more interviews this week, man," Meyer jokingly said after he pulled himself together. "This is going to be a tough week."

Senior DE Jermaine Cunningham said he has never seen Meyer that emotional.

"I'd have to say that was pretty emotional," said Cunningham, who was sitting in the back of the room. "Most of the time, he's not like that. I was sitting back there thinking about senior day and how close this team is. It became reality. Everybody loves Coach Meyer. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3389.

Urban Meyer says he'll be Florida Gators coach 'as long as they'll have me' 11/23/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 23, 2009 9:01pm]
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