Urban Meyer was named The Sporting News' National Coach of the Year.
Dec. 9, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -
This week's issue of The Sporting News names Utah first-year head football coach Urban Meyer its National Coach of the Year. Meyer, who was previously named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year, is the first Ute football coach ever to win the TSN honor.
Also recognized by TSN in its latest issue is Utah freshman cornerback Eric Weddle, who was cited as a second-team Freshman All-American. Weddle, a true freshman, has forced four fumbles this year-best in the Mountain West Conference-and leads the Utes in interceptions (3) and sacks (4, tie). A candidate for MWC Freshman of the Year, Weddle received honorable mention all-league honors.
Meyer received the TSN award after leading Utah to its first outright conference championship since 1957. The 9-2 Utes were invited to the AXA Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., where they will play Southern Mississippi, champion of Conference USA on Dec. 31. Utah's nine wins is tied for the second-most in school history and marks a four-win improvement over last year, when the Utes finished 5-6 and in fifth place in the Mountain West Conference.
Meyer is the only Ute football coach ever to win a league title in his debut year at the school and his 9-2 record with one game remaining is already the best for a first-year Ute head coach. Utah is ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, marking just the second time ever that Utah has been ranked in the final regular season polls.
In addition to big non-conference victories over then No. 19 Oregon and California, both bowl-bound Pac-10 teams, Meyer's Utes swept MWC foes Colorado State, Air Force and Brigham Young on the road for the first time in school history.