How do Utah football fans remember Urban Meyer?

Although Florida and Utah don’t have much history, the Gators and Utes share one major bond: Urban Meyer.

Meyer guided Utah to a perfect season in 2004 before moving to UF, where he won two national titles. His reputation in Florida is complicated, to put it mildly. He’s not in the Gators’ ring of honor, and some fans haven’t forgiven him for his exit or his program’s off-court issues. It doesn’t help how his tenure with the Jaguars ended.

But how does he remember him in Utah?

“Lovely. Very fondly,” said Josh Newman, who covers the Utes for The Salt Lake Tribune.

Related: Florida versus Utah is important for the Gators. It’s monumental for the Utes

Newman said there was a corner of the fan base that would welcome Meyer “with open arms, no questions asked” as Kyle Whittingham’s replacement whenever he retired.

Whittingham went out of his way, repeatedly, to praise Meyer.

“He doesn’t talk about anyone the way he talks about Urban Meyer,” Newman said.

Bill Riley agrees: Meyer’s reputation remains strong in Utah.

“No matter what happens, people will always have fond memories of Urban because he put Utah on the map,” said Riley, Utes play-by-play announcer and noon radio host at 700-AM KALL.

Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer were recognized in the Gators’ opener against Florida Atlantic last season. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP (2021) ]

A year ago, there were valid questions around Gainesville about how Meyer would be received by UF fans when the Gators honored him in the season opener against Florida Atlantic. There were cheers – the fact that Steve Spurrier was also honored no doubt helped.

Related: Why The Florida Gators’ Anthony Richardson Is The State’s Biggest Unknown

Newman said he had no doubts the reaction of fans if Utah honored Meyer in a game. He would receive a standing ovation.

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