Former Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is the latest coach to make the jump from the top of the college ranks to the NFL. A deal between Meyer and the Jaguars was reached Thursday.
The move had been rumored for weeks, and Meyer’s former assistant, Gators coach Dan Mullen said last month that “it would never surprise me to see him back on the sidelines, enjoying coaching the game of football.”
Meyer was 187-32 (.854 winning percentage) with three national championships (two at UF, one with the Buckeyes) in 17 years as a head coach.
Here’s a look at some of the other notable figures who rose from college head coach to the NFL:
Although it’s the most obvious comparison, it might not be the best one. Unlike Meyer, Spurrier had some pro experience as a player and as the Tampa Bay Bandits’ coach. Spurrier led UF to the program’s first national title and left after the 2001 season to take over Washington’s NFL team. Spurrier went 12-20 in two seasons and resigned, eventually returning to the SEC as South Carolina’s coach.
The former Oilers and Browns assistant coached LSU to a national title before returning to the NFL as the Dolphins’ head coach for the 2005 season. He flopped in Miami (15-17 in two years) but bounced back pretty decently at Alabama.
He had a pair of 10-win seasons at Temple and led Baylor to the Sugar Bowl before getting hired by the Panthers. Rhule went 5-11 in his first season, including a pair of double-digit losses to the Bucs.
He got fired after going 35-40 at Texas Tech, but his offensive pedigree helped him fall upwards to the Cardinals. He’s 13-18 after two seasons and narrowly missed the playoffs this season.
He had NFL head coaching jobs with the Jets and Patriots, but his USC stint (two national titles) preceded his current job. He has guided the Seahawks to nine playoff appearances in 11 seasons and won Super Bowl 48.
The Jaguars’ first coach was 21-13-1 with a pair of bowl appearances at Boston College before taking over Jacksonville’s expansion team. He went 68-60 with the Jaguars but was better with the Giants, where he won a pair of Super Bowls.
He led the Hurricanes to a No. 2 national ranking in 2000 and assembled the pieces of the most talented college team ever. Davis just wasn’t around to coach it. Instead, he went 24-35 with three-plus years with the Browns from 2001-04. He’s now the head coach at Florida International.
Like Meyer, Erickson won a pair of national titles in Florida (two at Miami) and had no pro experience before getting an NFL head coaching job. He was fired in 1998 after his third 8-8 season in four years with the Seahawks.
Another figure from the U’s glory days, Johnson won the 1987 title at Miami, then won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys to earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The College Football Hall of Famer won four national championships at USC before becoming the Bucs’ first head coach. He went 44-88-1 in Tampa Bay but is a member of the team’s Ring of Honor.
Although he also had previous NFL head coaching experience (with the Giants), he jumped directly from leading Alabama to leading the Bucs after the 1986 season. He went 19-41 in Tampa Bay and was fired during Year 4.
His Trojans finished second in the Associated Press poll three times, which helped him get the Rams job. His 79 wins (including the playoffs) are the most in franchise history.
He coached Georgia Tech to a share of the 1990 national title and had some success in the NFL, too. His 47-33 tenure with the Chargers included an appearance in Super Bowl 29.
Like Meyer, Switzer won three national titles as a coach and was out of the business when he joined the NFL. He added a Super Bowl victory with the Cowboys before resigning after a 6-10 season in 1997.
The Hall of Famer sandwiched three Super Bowl triumphs with the 49ers between brief stints as Stanford’s head coach.
A pair of top-10 seasons at Louisville led the Falcons to hire Petrino. His 3-10 tenure in Atlanta is best known for his exit — he put notes on players’ lockers telling them he was leaving for Arkansas.
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