He opened with, “I have great love for the University of Florida. I’m stepping down as head coach to focus on family and other interests away from the sidelines,” and then he took questions from the media. He did appear relieved and set in his decision.
On when he decided to step down: “Earlier this week i vist with [athletic director] Jeremy [Foley] about some thoughts I was having and made the decision yesterday.”
On how the timing is different this time around: “I love Florida. I’ve got the best bosses in the country. I’ve got a great staff, and that was a knee jerk reaction. The timing wasn’t right. The timing’s never perfect, but this way you get a new coach who can help recruiting and move forward.”
On how his family’s involvement in the decision is different this time: “Last year my daughter came home from college and found out what happened [and was surprised and upset]. This year is completely different. I’m doing what’s best for Florida, Florida players, and obviously for myself and my family.”
“Sometimes we make it far too complex. At the end of the day, you’re gonna be judged on how you are as a husband, as a father — not on how many bowl games you win. I’ve never seen my girls play sports, so I’ve missed those years. I made a commitment to them that I'm gonna enjoy the best years of their lives.”
On the impact of his resignation on recruiting: “I talked to a handful and I’m gonna make a bunch of phone calls tonight and tomorrow. Florida is Florida. We’ve put together a great class. I’m sure the coaching candidates will be great. Full speed ahead.”
On stepping down right before facing Joe Paterno, who may never step down: “Someone made a comment that if Joe Paterno stepped down at my age, it would be 1972. We’re actually great friends. I think I’m gonna see him tomorrow.”
On how Florida can turn it around: “The way you fix it is hard work. It’s because of a constant attrition of assistant coaches. [There are ten coaches throughout college football who were Florida assistants.] You lose five juniors to the NFL Draft, there’s a void. It’s Florida. We have the facilities. This is gonna be a great young team.”
On whether he consulted with associates: “Yes I did, and family discussions. My best friend’s up at Georgia Tech [presumably his daughter, not Paul Johnson], and my other best friends are high school seniors.”
On whether it’s hard to leave after a bad year: “I think Florida deserves the best, and I’m not sure we gave them the best this year. But there’s never a perfect time to leave.”
On breaking the news to players: “It was tough. I met with them today at 2. For the most part they were very gracious.”
On his legacy at Florida: “You look at the ‘06 team, they’ll go down as one of the most overachieving, hard working teams. The ‘08 team, you look at the stats, it’s hard to say that’s not one of the three best teams in the history of the game.”
On why he changed his mind last time: “I changed my mind as far as staff and players — the timing for my boss was not appropriate. It was not a good time.”
On Florida’s 2010 struggles: “I saw a dropoff. There’s a multitude of reasons from injuries to lack of execution.”
You can fix struggles. If it was different timing, and my family wasn’t involved in sports and all the things a dad should be at [I would stay]. My daughter is playing golf at Florida Gulf Coast, and I’ve not seen the school yet. I’m gonna go see it."
On his plans for the future: “Im gonna put a resume together, and I’m gonna try to be a Gatorball baseball assistant coach this spring.”