Florida Flashback Series: 2002—The End of the Spurrier Era, Ron Zook & Moving On to Urban Meyer

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

“It felt like a mistake on many fronts, not the least of which was the impossible task the likeable Zooker had of following a legend. Which was too bad, because Zook became a whipping boy and was treated shabbily by many. Whoever followed the HBC was doomed to failure, however, and destined for blame.”

The ‘Greatest Coach’ in school history walked out unexpectedly, so what could Jeremy Foley do?

Norm Carlson will never forget that fateful January 2002 day when Steve Spurrier showed up at his condo in Crescent Beach to tell him the bad news. They had just gotten back from the 2002 Orange Bowl victory over Maryland, 56-23. When Steve and his wife Jerri arrived at the Carlson’s condo, they suggested to Norm: “Sit down. You’re probably going to need a glass of wine.”

Could it be that the greatest coach in Florida football history was leaving his alma mater to coach in the NFL?

"I thought he was kidding," Carlson later said. “He told me to sit down. He probably thought I would faint."

Steve then told his longtime friend and chief sports information aide that after 12 years he was resigning at Florida and wanted to call Athletic Director Jeremy Foley to tell him. “Why don’t you sleep on it and let’s call him tomorrow,” Carlson remembered suggesting. And they did. But tomorrow came and nothing changed. “Once he makes his mind up there’s no talking Stev