Today, Gator Nation heard the sad news that Urban Meyer will be resigning as head coach at the University of Florida.
In six seasons with Gators, Meyer compiled a 64-15 record, two BCS National Championships and a Sugar Bowl. His recruiting and relationship with Florida favorite Tim Tebow changed the face of Florida football and recorded the most important chapter in the history of the program.
Essentially, with apologies to Steve Spurrier, Urban Meyer was the best head coach in school history, even in only six seasons.
I guess we could have seen this coming. Almost exactly one year ago, Meyer announced his resignation due to health concerns that were a result of his overwhelming stress levels.
A day later, Meyer changed his mind and decided to take a leave of absence instead.
Now it seems as though Meyer is finally finished with the Gators. It is almost poetic how Meyer's first season with the Gators ended with an Outback Bowl victory and in his last season with Florida, the Gators will have the opportunity to send him out with an Outback Bowl victory.
So what do the Gators do now?
The coordinators at Florida do not seem like very attractive choices to step in. Steve Addazio has been a horrific play-caller in his two seasons as Florida offensive coordinator. Addazio is more likely to get fired now that Meyer is gone rather than be promoted to head coach.
Florida could look at the two coordinators during the National Championship era: defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.
Strong actually was the head coach of Florida for one game back in the 2004 Peach Bowl after Ron Zook was fired. Ironically, he was technically the last coach that Florida had before Urban Meyer.
However, Strong went just 6-6 in his first season at Louisville—not a complete failure, but not exactly the best option to lead one of the top programs in the country.
The right choice would be Dan Mullen.
After the 2008 season, in which Mullen helped lead the Gators to a National Championship as offensive coordinator, Mullen left Florida to become the head coach at Mississippi State.
In just two seasons, Mullen has turned around the Bulldogs from a 4-8 team to an 8-4 team and actually beat the Florida Gators in The Swamp this year. Mullen's reputation as an offensive whiz is completely justified and even pushed Mississippi State into a Top 25 ranking this season.
Mullen was sorely missed when he left two season ago. His contributions were evident, and although Florida still went 13-1 without him, Tim Tebow and the offense certainly performed at a lower level without him.
Mullen knows Florida. He knows the Florida system and he knows athletic director Jeremy Foley.
Additionally, he is a great recruiter, something Florida will desperately need after Meyer's exit. In his first year at Mississippi State, Mullen pulled in a top 25-ranked recruiting class, according to both Rivals and Scout.com.
Mullen is the perfect choice. Florida will have the money to throw at him because it won't even take an Urban Meyer-type salary to get him.
So relax, Gator Nation. Meyer is gone, but we already have the perfect replacement.