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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Meyer's hiring track record speaks for itself

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Over and above the product on the field, this is the time of year when you really find out how good a coaching staff is.

Everybody is looking for good coaches. Everybody is trying to replace coaches. And if you hire good coaches, they’re going to be in demand.

It’s safe to say that Florida’s Urban Meyer has hired a bunch of good coaches.

In each of the last two seasons, he’s lost coordinators to head coaching jobs. Dan Mullen took the Mississippi State job last season, while Charlie Strong landed the Louisville job this season.

Following the 2007 season, Meyer also lost co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Greg Mattison to the Baltimore Ravens. After one year as the Ravens’ linebackers coach, Mattison was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Recently named Marshall head coach Doc Holliday also left the Florida staff following the 2007 season for a position on the West Virginia staff.

And earlier this month, Florida receivers coach Billy Gonzales left to become passing game coordinator at LSU.

The bottom line is that coaches want guys on their staff who are head coach material, and eight assistant coaches under Meyer have now gone on to be head coaches.

There could be more turnover on this staff. Cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford has done an excellent job in grooming Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins and could be a candidate to join Strong at Louisville.

Meyer says he’s going to take his time on his defensive coordinator hire. Ole Miss’ Tyrone Nix passed on the opportunity to join the Gators’ staff, and Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster was another guy on Meyer’s radar who's staying put.

When a coach is making these decisions, he always has to be aware of staff chemistry. Chuck Heater, the Gators’ assistant defensive coordinator, has been with Meyer since the final season at Utah in 2004 and will no doubt get a long look at replacing Strong.