Urban Meyer has called being the head coach of Notre Dame his “dream job” at multiple points during his career. He publicly mentioned it as recently as 2008 when he was still coaching at Florida. He was also a candidate for the coaching vacancy in 2005 — before he landed the head coaching gig with the Gators.
Now, the Notre Dame job is open for the first time since 2009, as Brian Kelly has left the school to coach LSU. Would Meyer consider returning to the college ranks to take that vacancy if it was offered to him?
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The Jaguars’ coach shut down any speculation of that possibility during a conference call on Tuesday.
“I’m not a candidate,” Meyer told reporters. “Obviously, I spent six years of my life there, so great respect for Notre Dame, and as I do USC, UCLA, like we talked about. But I’m committed to the Jaguars and doing the best we can to turn this thing around.”
So, that answers that question. Meyer doesn’t seem likely to leave the Jaguars, though it’s worth noting that he didn’t deny interest in the Notre Dame job. He just said he wasn’t a candidate. After his off-field controversies at Florida, Ohio State and the Jaguars, Notre Dame would likely be hesistant to approach Meyer as well.
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Meyer spent the 1996 through 2000 seasons as Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach. He parlayed that into his first head coaching gig at Bowling Green and coached at Utah, Florida and Ohio State before making the jump to the pros.
The veteran coach’s first season in Jacksonville has been anything but smooth. The Jaguars have stumbled to a 2-9 record and there have been plenty of reports of tension out of the Jaguars’ locker room. No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence has had a bumpy rookie season, and Meyer’s staff has done little to make life easier for him.
Meyer’s performance on the field has left a lot to be desired, but his conduct off the field has fallen under scrutiny as well. Most notably, a raunchy video of Meyer dancing with a younger woman at an Ohio bar surfaced following the Jaguars’ “Thursday Night Football” loss to the Bengals. Meyer, who has been married since 1986, apologized to the team and owner Shad Khan said in a statement that Meyer “must regain our trust and respect.”
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Still, even despite these issues, Meyer wants to see things out in Jacksonville. That message has been consistent throughout the year.
After all, this isn’t the first time Meyer has had to deny speculation that he could return to college football to take a major opening. After USC fired Clay Helton in September, Meyer’s name popped up as a potential replacement for the Trojans, but he denied that possibility emphatically.
“No chance,” Meyer told reporters of joining USC. “I’m committed to here and building an organization.”
So, it doesn’t seem like Meyer is ready to pull a Bobby Petrino — barring a drastic change in his philosophy.