The Chronicle’s View: In the absence of Urban

It’s official. Urban Meyer, the leader, coach and figurehead who, over the course of two years, led the U’s football team to this year’s BCS Fiesta Bowl berth, is leaving.

In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Meyer-who was widely believed to be leaving Utah for Notre Dame at the end of this season-has announced that he will be taking over as head coach for the Florida State Gators beginning next season.

While Meyer’s decision is undoubtedly the one he wanted to make, his absence will leave a significant gap in the U community as a whole, and has already infuriated innumerable Ute fans, many of whom feel that Meyer is abandoning a team, a city and a school that have been nothing but supportive for the duration of his Utah career.

You know what? The disenfranchised fans might be right-Meyer could legitimately be seen as abandoning the U for glitz, glamour and a big, fat paycheck.

You know what else? That’s not necessarily the point-the benefits, lessons and unity that Meyer taught the U are not necessarily going to vanish when he leaves.

To put it simply, Meyer taught us many valuable lessons, none of which needs vanish with the coach himself.

Think about it-what have been the benefits of having passionate, spirited, student-minded coach in our midst? Essentially, Meyer helped the U establish a sense of school pride, a belief in ourselves and a willingness to disregard the disparaging words of others. While Meyer was here, the U felt like a college campus for the first time in a long while-complete with spirit, unity and support for the goings-on of our community.

The question we need to be asking ourselves is why can’t we be prideful, passionate and spirited without Meyer?

The honest answer is we can.

It would be narrow-minded and irrational of us to assume that Meyer was the reason the U campus underwent the spiritual renovation it did recently. When it comes right down to it, Meyer is just one man, and though he was a great leader and a talented coach, all he did was empower the student body as a whole to realize its potential. The important thing to remember is that we, the students and the alumni, are the ones who made the U so great these past two years. Meyer was a figurehead; we were the ones who gave him power.

As such, we must maintain our sense of self-worth, our integrity and our wonder; the U is an incredible institution and its student body is boundless in its potential for success. No one man, no matter how inspirational, can rival the ability of a 20,000 students to change the face of a campus.

Most importantly, in the absence of Meyer, the U should not get down on itself.

Yes, he is gone. Yes, things will be different. No, it is not the end of the world. We can continue to extend the lessons learned under the guidance of Meyer’s enthusiasm and we can maintain a sense of greatness about ourselves. If nothing else, the past two years have proved we deserve that much.