He can't make you love him, Gators fans, but he sure can make you pony up. Florida's Urban Meyer has become the highest-paid head football coach (or "curch") in the cash-rich SEC.
Meyer's six-year contract extension is worth $4 million annually, giving him a $750,000 raise and vaulting him just over Alabama's slimy short stack Nick Saban ($3.9 million) and LSU's Les Miles ($3.75). In Gainesville money, it's like earning $8 billion dollars, or 497 million cans of Skoal.
The new deal also places him third in the nation, behind only USC's Pete Carroll ($4.4) and Notre Dame's sitting duck foie gras, Charlie Weis (a very schadenfreudian $4.2).
The University of Florida says he's worth it.
"I believe that Urban Meyer is the best at what he does," President Bernie Machen said.
So does Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. “Coach Meyer has certainly proven to be one of the top college football coaches in the country and should be compensated as such," he said in a statement.
They're also quick to point out that Meyer isn't paid with state funds (or body shots, like freshman interns), and that since his arrival at UF in 2005, the Athletic Department's coffers have contributed $17.3 million to the school's overall budget in a time of economic distress.
Is he worth it? Yes, absolutely. Meyer is recession-proof, and Florida needed to do what they could to ensure he stuck around for the post-Tebow era. If they'd given him more, it's doubtful anyone would have even blinked. Meyer has demonstrated a zero-tolerance approach to fun, but a distinct ability to win, going 44-9 in four seasons with two national championships.
All what's left on his list of things to do: bronze Tim Tebow like baby shoes and preserve him forever.
Now he can finally afford it.