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Gators give Meyer 6-year, $24M contract


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http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4374311

By Chris Low

ESPN.com

Urban Meyer, who has taken the Florida Gators to rarified heights with two national championships in four seasons, will see his salary climb to equally exclusive company.

The $4 million club.

A new six-year, $24 million contract for Meyer was finalized Monday, taking his total financial package to $4 million per year and making him the SEC's highest paid coach in 2009.

His new deal will run through the 2014 season, and there are also incentives involved that could raise his pay even higher.

“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. “Dr. [bernie] Machen, Jeremy Foley and the community make this a special place, and I'm honored to be a part of it.

Alabama's Nick Saban is set to earn $3.9 million this season, while LSU's Les Miles jumped to $3.75 million after winning the 2007 national championship.

Southern California's Pete Carroll is college football's highest paid coach at a reported $4.4 million per year, and Notre Dame's Charlie Weis is believed to the be in the $4 million range.

Meyer's old deal paid him $3.25 million and was set to take him through the 2012 season. Last season, counting $375,000 in bonuses Meyer earned for winning the BCS national title, SEC title and finishing in the top 10, he pocketed $3.625 million.

The Florida athletic department has contributed $17.3 million to the university since Meyer's arrival on campus in 2005.

He's also made a $1 million commitment to UF's Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, which was created by school president Machen to provide financial assistance to first-generation, financially disadvantaged students working toward a bachelor's degree.

Meyer and Florida men's basketball coach Billy Donovan agreed to lead that charge last year. The goal is to raise $50 million.

"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.

Florida had been sensitive to recent economic cuts at the university and hadn't rushed to beef up Meyer's deal, even after the Gators won their second BCS national title in three years this past January.

In fact, most of the chatter this offseason centered around rumors that the Gators may eventually lose Meyer to Notre Dame.

A couple of different times, Meyer attempted to quell that talk after saying on a radio talk show last year that Notre Dame was his dream job.

Then Machen said in May at the SEC spring meetings that Meyer deserved to be the highest paid coach in the SEC, adding, “He's the best.

It's difficult to argue with his resumé.

The Gators are 44-9 during Meyer's first four seasons in Gainesville, tied for the third best nationally during that span.

In addition to bringing home championships, Meyer has also consistently beaten the teams that truly count.

Against the Gators' four biggest rivals -- Georgia, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee -- he's 12-1.

And in winning two national titles in his first eight years as a head coach, he's accomplished something many of college football's greats never did.

Such legendary names as Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, Lou Holtz, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden and Tom Osborne failed to win any national titles during their first eight years as a head coach.

Chris Low covers SEC football for ESPN.com.

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Hopefully this will help quell any fears a recruit might have about UM leaving anytime soon...

Well it wont, because I just learned today that the buyout for Urban Meyer's new contract is an absolutely astonishing $500,000.

Which means if he decides to leave Florida, whichever school signs him will have to pay Florida a half a million dollars. That's like 100 Division 1 schools that would be able to do that.

This contract is ********, and is literally no different from the one he had before, with the exception of 2 extra years added to it and more money in Meyers' pocket.

This does nothing to make me think he won't leave Florida.

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Well it wont, because I just learned today that the buyout for Urban Meyer's new contract is an absolutely astonishing $500,000.

Which means if he decides to leave Florida, whichever school signs him will have to pay Florida a half a million dollars. That's like 100 Division 1 schools that would be able to do that.

This contract is ********, and is literally no different from the one he had before, with the exception of 2 extra years added to it and more money in Meyers' pocket.

This does nothing to make me think he won't leave Florida.

ND has 500K in their front pockets just waiting.......

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