Urban Meyer, who was fired Wednesday, led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 2-11 record through 14 weeks of the 2021-22 NFL season. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars fired coach Urban Meyer, less than one year into his tenure with the franchise, owner Shad Khan announced early Thursday.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the interim coach for the final four games of the 2021-22 NFL season.
"After deliberation over many weeks and a thorough analysis of the entirety of Urban's tenure with our team, I am bitterly disappointed to arrive at the conclusion that an immediate change is imperative for everyone," Khan said in a news release.
"I informed Urban of the change [Wednesday] evening. As I stated in October, regaining our trust and respect was essential. Regrettably, it did not happen."
Meyer's Jaguars posted a 2-11 record through 14 weeks, but his tenure also was marked by off-field issues.
In February, Meyer hired strength coach Chris Doyle, who was accused of making racist remarks and belittling Black players while at Iowa. Doyle resigned a day later.
In May, the former Jaguars coach signed former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to play tight end, a position he had never played. Tebow was with the Jaguars through off-season workouts, but failed to earn a spot on the final roster.
The NFL also issued a fine to Meyer and the Jaguars for excessive contact at an organized team activities session in June.
Another incident followed in October. The Jaguars lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 30 in Cincinnati and Meyer didn't fly home with the team, opting to go to Columbus, Ohio, to visit his grandchildren.
A video surfaced the next day on social media, showing a woman, who was not Meyer's wife, dancing close to his lap at a Columbus restaurant.
He apologized the next day for that incident.
Sources also told NFL Network and ESPN that Meyer's relationship with his coaching staff and several players deteriorated throughout the season. Those reports stated that Meyer called coaches "losers" and questioned their resumes.
Khan address Meyer's off-field incidents several times this year. In October, he called Meyer's conduct in Columbus "inexcusable."
Despite the record of previous incidents, Khan told reporters earlier this week that he would not rush or act "helter-skelter on emotion" with a decision about Meyer's future.
"Trent Baalke continues as our general manager and will work with Darrell to ensure that our team will be inspired and competitive while representing Jacksonville proudly over our final four games of the season," Khan said Thursday.
"In the spirit of closure and recharging our players, staff and fan base, I will not comment further until some point following the conclusion of the NFL season."
Meyer, 57, entered the NFL head coaching ranks with an impressive collegiate resume. He posted a 187-32 overall record in 17 seasons, with tenures at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.
Meyer led Florida to two national titles and claimed another at Ohio State. He left Ohio State in 2018, citing health issues. The Jaguars hired Meyer in January.
The Jaguars can begin interviewing new head coaching candidates as soon as Dec. 28. They host the Houston Texans (2-11) at 1 p.m. EST Sunday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.