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Back in December -- shortly after Alabama quashed Florida's hopes of repeating as BCS champions -- when it came out that "chest pains" were forcing Urban Meyer to step down from his post as the Gators' head coach, the immediate reaction was: did he suffer a mild heart attack? Would he ever be able to return to the sidelines again, or had the cumulative stress of major college football coaching made that a foregone possibility?
Of course, Meyer abruptly reversed course, and announced that he would merely take an "indefinite leave of absence" rather than resign...which then turned in to him coming back to coach spring ball. All the while, Meyer kept private what had caused his chest pains, and what his prognosis was for the future -- until now.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, Meyer revealed that he had suffered from esophageal spasms, which make it difficult to swallow and cause heart burn and muscle contractions. These symptoms can mimic the severe chest pains associated with heart attacks. Esophageal spasms are usually triggered by high levels of stress/panic attacks -- i.e., breaking down tape and/or recruiting around the clock -- although Meyer has reportedly been able to fend off any of these symptoms since January thanks to a combination of medication and a healthier lifestyle.
Meyer told reporters that his condition has not affected his long-term health outlook.
At halftime of the University of Florida-South Carolina game, there was quite a stir when Urban Meyer started talking to reporters. According to ESPN’s broadcast team, a bevy of reporters huddled around Meyer (at the game, below), who politely answered questions and explained that yes, he will be coaching spring football practice at the University of Florida.
...Wait what? What happened to taking time off to focus on his health? First he was retiring. Then it was an indefinite leave of absence. Then it was "I’ll coach by the fall." Now? He’s coaching spring practice. Those two weeks off must have been really, really refreshing…
It’s sort of hilarious when considered alongside his initial announcement and the reaction it sparked throughout the sports world. America was initially dumbfounded, but then responded with an uncharacteristic understanding, recognizing that college coaching takes a toll on the body and mind that’s beyond our understanding. If Urban Meyer was going to choose his life over his work, then good for him. He’d surely earned it.
But that’s all overwith. Forget Bali Hai; Smell that? Spring football’s a comin! KICK. ASS.
So, yes, it's hilarious considered next to the initial statements from Meyer. But it’s also completely predictable when considered alongside everything else we’ve come to know about Urban Meyer. The man has an otherworldly, possibly pathological work ethic. He lives to coach football. It’s why we were so surprised to hear he might the leave the game. And it’s why we shouldn’t be surprised that, in the end, he never really left.
A 911 call placed by Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley, the morning after the SEC Championship game reveals that the Florida coach was suffering from chest pains and tingling in his side. The call was obtained by ESPN, and can be heard in full here.
The call was placed at 4:27 a.m. During the call, Shelley Meyer says that Urban attempted to get up out of bed and fell to the floor, and that he was experiencing chest pains. She said that he would not wake up and throughout the audio she can be heard attempting to do so.
Meyer was rushed to the hospital shortly thereafter.
Florida coach Urban Meyer's indefinite leave of absence has grown a little less indefinite. During Sunday's press conference, he had this to say:
[...] Urban Meyer was asked if he felt he would be Florida's head coach come the fall of 2010.
Meyer's response was, "I do in my gut believe that will happen."
To recap: first it was reported that Meyer was retiring after the Sugar Bowl. Then it was speculated that he might return to coach college or professional football someday. On Sunday afternoon, it was reported that rather than resign, he would take an indefinite leave of absence. Now Meyer believes he will coach in fall 2010.
In short...if Meyer is to believed, he will only miss a couple of early-season games next season before returning to the team, and I doubt that he will remove himself entirely from recruiting or other off-season duties. There you have it.
After a flurry of reports and rumors, we hear it straight from Urban Meyer's mouth: the Florida head coach will take an indefinite leave of absence. To open the press conference on Sunday, Meyer announced the news, and he also confirmed that assistant coach Steve Addazio will serve as head coach on an interim basis.
They haven't been explicit on the matter, but it's presumed that Meyer will still coach the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati as rumored.
It seems, then, that rumors of various coaches leaping at the Florida job (Bob Stoops, Charlie Strong, etc.), are irrelevant. Breathe easy, sports fans.
In case you're not able to watch it where you are, MSNBC is streaming live video of Florida coach Urban Meyer's press conference. Here's the link. To get the full experience, follow along with Alligator Army's live blog while you watch.
As of this moment, Urban Meyer's 4:30 P.M. press conference is still on the schedule. Our Florida blog, Alligator Army, will be live-blogging the presser starting at 4:00. UPDATE: Here's the link. Follow along and join the conversation.
Also, the Internet is going nuts over word that Meyer has rescinded his impending his resignation to a mere leave of absence. Keep track of this page for all the latest.
Well, this is certainly the biggest news since Urban Meyer's announcement of his impending resignation on Saturday. ESPN's Chris Mortenson is reporting that instead of resigning outright, Meyer will merely take a leave of absence from Florida.
Reported to Espn: urban meyer changes mind, now leave of absence with Asst Steve [Addazio] now interim coach.
We don't yet know how long Meyer's leave of absence will be, or what led Meyer to re-evaluation his decision. Stick with us for details. Hopefully, more will be revealed at 4:30 P.M. Sunday when Meyer holds his press conference.
In the wake of Florida coach Urban Meyer's impending resignation, our SB Nation bloggers are producing some of the best writing you will come across. At the forefront, naturally, is our Florida blog, Alligator Army. On Sunday, they offer a series of anecdotes that shed light on what kind of man Meyer is, and what he means to his players, his fans, and college football at large.
My favorite Meyer story comes from my friend Hanson. He was covering practice in 2006 when Urban came off the field clearly agitated. No one wanted to ask the first question. After about 15 seconds, Hanson sticks his WRUF mic in.
"So, uh, coach, how was practice?"
Urban glares at him. "How was practice? How. Was. Practice." Urban keeps glaring. Finally someone breaks the tension and asks a different question.
Later that week, Hanson has finished the presser and is walking back to Weimer Hall. In front of the O'Connell Center, he feels an arm draped around his shoulders. It's Urban. He smiles at Hanson and pats him on the shoulder, before walking away.
Read on and enjoy yet another must-read piece of writing from our SB Nation bloggers.
Florida coach Urban Meyer's health is in question, as is his long-term future as a coach, but there is no question about his commitment. He's an enormous talent, and throughout his career, he's made sure that every ounce of this talent was combined with tireless effort to construct one of the greatest coaching careers in the history of college football. Over at Every Day Should Be Saturday, our own Spencer Hall ponders this truth, among others. Predictably enough, EDSBS has produced what is arguably the most eloquent take on Meyer in the wake of his resignation.
When we begin the new, and go through whatever comes next–the screaming, the ambiguity, the anxiety of whatever the next coach, the next team, and the next season will bring and the medications we will have to inject directly into our eyeballs to cope–we’ll forget how hard this had to be for a guy who torched himself in the fire of his own ambitions, but who stopped short of complete self-immolation when his body balked at last.
This is required reading. Check it out.
Even before the announcement of his impending resignation, Florida coach Urban Meyer was scheduled to hold a press conference. It was originally intended to address the Sugar Bowl match-up with Cincinnati on New Year's Day, but for obvious reasons, the agenda is likely to change entirely. However, there's no reason to believe that Meyer won't hold the press conference as scheduled.
UPDATE: Via Pat Forde, the presser is scheduled to start at 4:30 P.M. Eastern.
Following Urban Meyer's announcement of his resignation as Florida's head coach, he conducted an interview Saturday evening with the New York Times' Pete Thamel. Meyer told Thamel that he experienced chest pains following Florida's loss to Alabama on December 5th.
That night was the tipping point for Meyer, 45, who stunned the college football world Saturday by announcing that he was stepping down from coaching.
“There was no heart damage,” Meyer said. “But I didn’t want there to be a bad day where there were three kids sitting around wondering what to do next. It was the pattern of what I was doing and how I was doing it. It was self-destructive.”
Even were it not for Meyer's health issues, it's clear that his job was taking its toll.
If there was a hallmark to Meyer’s coaching style, both on and off the field, it was his relentlessness. He said he found himself e-mailing recruits in church. He said that his 16-year-old daughter had told him that she had not felt like she talked to him in the past two years.
Another interesting note: a Florida spokesman says that Meyer will be involved in selecting his successor.
Our Georgia blog, Dawg Sports, has plenty of thoughts on the exit of Florida head coach Urban Meyer. T. Kyle King, at least at this juncture, isn't concerned with rivalry implications or anything else of the sort.
Now is not the time to view circumstances through the lenses of a rivalry or to speculate about a successor whose name we will know soon enough. Now is the time to pray for Urban Meyer and his family, and to wish them well as this chapter of their lives comes prematurely to an end.
Instead, he tips his cap to a man he hated as a coach, but ultimately respected as a human being.
Let us, then, admit this about Urban Meyer: we didn't like him because we lost to him, often by a lot, and every fault we found with him was a projection of that innate revulsion to losing to anyone, much less to a rival, much less to a rival who didn't come across like a nice guy underneath. With rare exceptions (one of which rhymes with "Kane Liffin"), opposing coaches actually have to beat the Bulldogs before I care to bother with disliking them on a personal level.That admission is important because it is a necessary antecedent to this admission: Urban Meyer was a superb football coach.
The rest of the post is well worth a read. Check it out.
Though we know Urban Meyer stepped down as Florida's head coach due to health reasons, we're still digging for all the specifics. An Orlando TV station, WKMG-6, reports that Meyer suffered a heart attack during the 2009 season.
It should be stressed here that WKMG is relying on a single anonymous source for this story, so this report certainly can't be confirmed at this time. Here it is, for what it's worth:
A source confirmed to Local 6 sports director David Pingalore on Saturday that Florida head coach Urban Meyer, who is resigning, suffered a heart attack during the season.University of Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley announced on Saturday that Meyer would resign after the Gators' game against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day.According to Pingalore's source, Meyer did not inform the team about the issue during the season.
If true -- and once again, that's a big -- IF -- this is a startling development. Stay tuned for the inevitable confirmation/denial.
UPDATE: During his Sunday press conference, Meyer categorically denied that he suffered a heart attack during the 2009 season. Like so many other rumors over the past weekend, this one has been shot down.
The impact of Florida head coach Urban Meyer's resignation reaches far beyond Gainesville. Our SEC blog, Team Speed Kills, has plenty to offer on the news.
This comes as the most celebrated player in the program's history, Tim Tebow, prepares to wrap up his career at Florida.
Meyer's decision only adds to the impression that this year is the end of an era at Florida.is leaving after this season for his shot at the NFL; it's hard to see many of the draft-eligible juniors staying around for a new staff (unless it's the kind of staff that can convince those players to stay). And one of the most successful coaches in the program's history -- Steve Spurrier is the only one even in the discussion -- is leaving.
As TSK notes, the SEC landscape is sure to change.
Meyer is 56-10 at Florida, 32-8 in the SEC and 15-1 against Georgia, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee, which the school dubs its "traditional rivals." And let's not forget those two national and SEC championships and three division titles.
The SEC East was already likely to open up this year, with Tebow and several other high-profile Gators graduating or taking their chances in the NFL Draft, Mark Richt looking to revive his career in Athens and a crop of young players beginning to catch on at South Carolina. Even Tennessee, which could take a step back after a surprisingly good first year under Lane Kiffin, couldn't be counted out. If someone was going to prevent the Gators from ruling the division for years to come, this was going to be the year to do it -- now they might have a better chance.
Check back with Team Speed Kills for more thoughts.
Our Florida Gators blog, Alligator Army, is all over the news of Urban Meyer's retirement as head coach. You're advised to check back with this page habitually for updates. Here are some of the highlights so far:
There are two immediate questions that need to be answered; when did Meyer make the decision to quit? And, is Florida already looking for a successor? In the first case, it has been three weeks since Meyer was hospitalized following the Alabama game. Was that more serious that originally thought? If Meyer made the decision this week, was Florida working back channels to find a new coach? Is this why Charlie Strong is running in place in his first few weeks at Louisville? Also, and this has to be considered because of our tabloid culture; is Meyer quitting as a way to get out of a contract or because of family concerns? Do we have to wait for the presser at the Sugar Bowl?
From the perspective of a media person, WHO ISSUES A PRESS RELEASE THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS? Why is this decision released now? Was UF and Meyer hoping to avoid a ravenous Florida media? Meyer has always played head games with the press, but this is no time to do this. The University of Florida and the Florida Gators are an institution that is eternal and Meyer is just a part of that. The health and well being of those institutions must be considered, as well as Meyer's apparent health issues. You cannot drop bombs about your school and program at a time when it could slide out of sight. The night after Christmas is no time to do this.
Health concerns are the reason for Florida coach Urban Meyer's resignation. Thankfully, it appears that we do not have immediate cause to worry about Urban Meyer, the human being. Chris Mortenson tweets:
Reported to ESPN that Urban Meyer's health issue is not critical. This is about coaching toll on health, Dick Vermeil-style.
It sounds as though Meyer is making a wise decision. Here's Jeremy Fowler:
Just talked to a Florida staff member -- Urban was in hospital at least twice this month for chest pains, nausea and sickness.
Less than an hour after Florida coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement, College Football Talk is already looking to Florida's future. Who will succeed Meyer as the new Gators head coach?
Most certainly, Bob Stoops' name will be tossed out there. Stanford's Jim Harbaugh was connected to both the Notre Dame and Kansas vacancies, and is a mortal lock to have his name attached to this job as well.At first blush, here's the name you should probably in the front of your mind: Boise State's Chris Peterson, if for nothing more than the fact that plucking a coach from a non-BcS automatic qualifier turned out rather well for UF the last time they were in need of a head coach.
CFT also mentions a name that we at SB Nation are quite skeptical about:
One thing we would think would be a certainty, though: Charlie Strong is probably kicking himself in the ass right about now.Strong was Meyer's defensive coordinator before leaving for the Louisville head-coaching gig earlier this month. Would he consider doing an about-face and return to Gainesville just weeks after leaving?
It's an interesting idea, and certainly worth a thought, but our own Spencer Hall believes this idea to be "completely" ludicrous, and that it would be "career suicide" for Strong. As a Louisvillian, I'm well aware that everyone in this city is in love with Strong, so I certainly share his skepticism.
UPDATE: Sigh. For posterity's sake, here is Darren Rovell's latest tweet:
Pat Forde (@espn4d) tells ESPNEWS that Charlie Strong has only signed term sheet, not contract, at UL. Never understand this.
Stunned to hear #Urban Meyer resigning, altho a coach I know ran into him 2 wks ago & said he looked so gaunt he barely recognized him.
Though not confirmed at this time, it's possible that Meyer's health concerns stem from a brain cyst discovered in 1998.
Tomahawk Nation reflects on what this means for the Gators:
For the first time ever, both Florida and Florida State will have new head coaches in the same season. Florida also lost its longtime defensive coordinator, Charlie Strong, who is now Louisville's head coach, and its best offensive assistant, Billy Gonzalez, who left to take the offensive coordinator position at LSU. With National Signing Day coming February 5th, UF must quickly find successors to Meyer, or risk what was shaping up as the top recruiting class in the nation. That recruiting class is especially important as the Gators will likely lose up to 12 players to the NFL, including multiple underclassmen.
The retirement of Florida coach Urban Meyer, which was announced minutes ago, is taking everyone by surprise. Our Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk, offers an immediate reaction to the news:
First, best wishes for Meyer. Hope the health thing isn't as serious as it sounds. As much as we've loved to get on the good old sports hate for Meyer and the Gators, I'm sure I'm not the only one at RTT who hopes he makes a full and complete recovery. They're saying now that there's no immediate health concern, but what are we to make of his decision being based in part on his health? We'll just have to wait and see on that.
Second, this will sound crass, but is it inevitable that folks will minimize Meyer's legacy at Florida because it coincides so nicely with Tebow's time there?
Third, the SEC East is wide open now. The Gators will still be talented. They'll also likely get a fantastic coach to replace Meyer. But change takes time. Look at Monte Kiffin's defense this year compared to John Chavis's last year. No matter how good you can be, change takes time.
Also, make sure you check back with our Florida blog, Alligator Army, for much, much more.
According to a press release from the University of Florida, head coach Urban Meyer will resign from the team after he coaches the Sugar Bowl in January. Meyer, who's seen Florida rise to become arguably the most successful program in the country, included the following statement in the press release:
"I have given my heart and soul to coaching college football and mentoring young men for the last 24-plus years and I have dedicated most of my waking moments the last five years to the Gator football program," said Meyer. "I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family."
"After consulting with my family, Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and my doctors, I believe it is in my best interest to step aside and focus on my health and family.
"I’m proud to be a part of the Gainesville community and the Gator Nation and I plan to remain in Gainesville and involved with the University of Florida. "I’m very appreciative for the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of a tremendous institution – from Dr. Machen to Jeremy Foley and the entire administrative staff at UF. I’m also very thankful for the chance to work with some of the best assistants in college football and coach some of the best college football players and watch them grow both on and off the field as people. I will cherish the relationships with them the most."
It's a shocking move that comes without any warning or hints from Meyer. As for his health condition, it may have something to do with this report, which said that he was hospitalized for "dehydration" after the Sugar Bowl loss. Perhaps that wasn't the whole story...
In any case, Meyer, just 45 years old and with 5 years and $20 million left on his contract, will coach his final game with the Florida Gators on New Years Day against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Stay tuned for more news and analysis as it emerges. Digg this story to spread the word.
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