Everything I needed to know about Urban Meyer, the man and the myth, was set in concrete more than a decade ago.
My name is Chris and this is my story:
On Sept. 18, 2004, the USC Trojans defeated Brigham Young in Provo on their way to an undefeated season and the national championship.
I covered that game for the Los Angeles Times but also had my eye on another school—and coach–that weekend.
On Sunday, Sept. 19, I steered my rental car into the coaching complex at the University of Utah.
I’m no memory genius, by any stretch, but I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I met Meyer in his darkened office and we watched film of his team’s 48-6 win at Utah State the previous day.
Utah improved to 3-0 and No. 14 in the polls on its early way to its own undefeated season. I loved, throughout my career, to jump on stories early and find the “next best” player or rising superstar coach.
Urban was very high on my 2004 list. I thought he could be the next Pete Carroll. (He was).
“He’s everything you want to be at 40,” I wrote for the LAT two days after our interview.
As we watched film that Sunday morning, Meyer locked in on a punt-coverage formation he used against Utah State just to, as he put it, “F with them.”
We talked at least an hour about all sorts of things. On my way out he handed me his business card, gave me his cell number and told me to call him anytime because, you know, Los Angeles was a big recruiting area for him.
A few months later, Meyer became a hot coaching candidate and was being chased, literally, around Salt Lake by representatives of Notre Dame and Florida.
He never returned any of my calls but did communicate with the New York Times.
Ok, fine, that’s life, and Meyer ended up taking the job at Florida.
The next summer, I went to Gainesville to interview Meyer again. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.