Texas Football: Jimmy Johnson had role in Urban Meyer’s rejection

Jimmy Johnson (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Jimmy Johnson (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

A saga that now feels long in the past for the Texas football program was the pursuit of the three-time National Championship-winning head coach Urban Meyer to assume the same role in place of the departed Tom Herman. Texas and athletic director Chris del Conte made their run at the former Florida Gators and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach last fall.

Urban would eventually wind up getting hired to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL after he passed on the supposed pursuit from the Longhorns administration. And a potential source that could’ve swayed Urban away from returning to the college ranks as a head coach emerged this week.

Former Dallas Cowboys, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Miami Hurricanes head coach Jimmy Johnson reportedly guided Urban down the path to where he made his decision to pick the Jaguars head coaching role over any other options that were on the table for him. But what Johnson discussed in particular here were the potential strains that would be placed on Urban.

While it is true that Johnson could’ve swayed the decision of Urban away from taking up the Longhorns offer to become the next head coach in Austin, it’s not like he was targeting the Forty Acres in a negative sense.

Jimmy Johnson discussed the Texas football coaching job with Urban Meyer

Urban originally retired from the Ohio State head coaching job following the 2018 season largely due to health issues. It makes sense that he would try to avoid bringing up those same stressors that caused him so many literal headaches during his latter days as a head coach at the college ranks.

A lot of the claims that Urban made in regards to why he avoided returning to the college ranks since getting hired by the Jags have played out in various forms in the past few months. The passing of NIL in college sports and the increasing polarity of college football recruiting are factors in this sport now.

But these are factors that the Longhorns could see someone like new head coach Steve Sarkisian succeed more with upon the move from the Big 12 to the SEC than Urban would have. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how Urban does with the Jags.

And with so many former Texas coaches on his staff (i.e. Charlie Strong and Chris Ash) with the Jags, Urban has a strong college football presence in Jacksonville.

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Texas is set to open up the regular season slate on Sep. 4 at home at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium against the Louisiana Ragin-Cajuns. Sark and the Longhorns will be looking to improve upon the record Herman posted last fall of 7-3 (5-3 Big 12).