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Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer signs contract extension

JOSEPH GOODMAN
jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

GAINESVILLE — University of Florida coach Urban Meyer has won two national championships in three years. On Monday, he cashed in on the success. Meyer signed a six-year contract extension for $4 million per year.

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“Coach Meyer has certainly proven to be one of the top college football coaches in the country and should be compensated as such,” UF athletics director Jeremy Foley said. “We are proud he is our coach and we appreciate all that he has done for the Gators.”

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This is Meyer’s second contract extension since arriving in Gainesville in 2005. He signed a six-year contract extension in 2007 for $3.2 million per year. Meyer’s new contract makes him one of the most highly paid college football coaches in the country along with Southern California coach Pete Carroll ($4.4 million), Alabama coach Nick Saban ($4 million) and Les Miles ($3.75 million).

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

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One of the most interesting aspects of Meyer’s new contract, according to UF associate athletic director Steve McClain, is language that indicates Meyer will donate $1 million to the University of Florida’s Florida Opportunity Scholars Program for the life of the contract. The program

provides financial assistance to first-generation, financially disadvantaged students.

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“I believe that Urban Meyer is the best at what he does,” UF president Bernie Machen said. “He demands excellence of his players on the field and 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.”

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The Florida Gators won the BCS National Championship in 2008 and return 17 starters from that team, including senior quarterback Tim Tebow and senior linebacker Brandon Spikes. UF will likely be ranked No.1 to begin the season. Fall practice begins on Aug.6.

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