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Meyer cites health concerns in statement

The University of Florida has released a statement regarding the stunning development that Urban Meyer is stepping down as the Gators’ head coach.

In the statement, Meyer hinted very strongly that health concerns played a huge role in his unexpected and shocking decision to leave arguably the best college football program in the country.

(And, as noted by Mike Florio in the post just below this one, Meyer told his players that he was leaving due to heart concerns.)

Here’s the text of Meyer’s statement:

“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,” Meyer said in statement. “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.

Meyer is expected to coach the Gators in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati.

As for where UF will turn for a new coach, it would seem that, given the state and status of the football program, almost anyone in America would jump at the opportunity to land one of the Top Three jobs in the country.

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.

Plus, Peterson is a helluva football coach whose style would fit almost seamlessly with the way the program is currently constructed.

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?

Odds are no, he wouldn’t, but it’s something that should be kept an eye on.

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16 Responses to “Meyer cites health concerns in statement”
  1. jonissupercool says: Dec 26, 2009 7:26 PM

    take a year off to “heal your heart” and see ya in the NFL next year

  2. Erbs says: Dec 26, 2009 7:31 PM

    Florio, John – let’s be realistic. This whole “heart problem” thing is a sham. This clearly is actually a mental health issue. Meyer simply cannot cope with Tebow leaving. By saying it’s a health issue, now he is free to move to the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars will fire Jack Del Rio, David Garrard will leave, and they will hire Urban Meyer after he deems his health is back to normal. Then he will proceed to draft Tim Tebow, thus completing the circle.

  3. xacvol says: Dec 26, 2009 7:32 PM

    Someone has pictures…

  4. The Wishbone says: Dec 26, 2009 7:33 PM

    Why would Kyle Whittingham not be the first obvious choice? He should be a shoe-in for the job, he’s basically Urb Jr.

  5. PiKindaGuy says: Dec 26, 2009 7:48 PM

    Lane Kiffin wins.

  6. rolltide says: Dec 26, 2009 8:05 PM

    Urban has been diagnosed with a case of Tebowgraduatitis, and doctor’s can’t find a way to reverse it.

  7. FunkFootball.Blogspot.com says: Dec 26, 2009 8:17 PM

    i believe the “heart condition” is a broken heart.
    it’s been headed that way ever since California’s voted Yes for Prop 8, preventing him and Tebow from getting married at the Rose Bowl after the National Championship Game this year.
    It’s all been a downward spiral.

  8. Minibull says: Dec 26, 2009 8:57 PM

    Man, I’m a rabid Vol fan but I find most of these comments disgusting. Urban was a hell of a coach who made the rest of the SEC better just to compete with UF. I truly hope that he can get better and be back in a couple of years – it was fun to see him and Kiffin jab at each other.

  9. hrudey says: Dec 26, 2009 9:08 PM

    Seriously, people, a man leaves a job that he loves because of serious health concerns and you still want to break out the “gay for Tebow” smack? I realize that for some people, the whole line between real life and logging in to talk smack on the Internet is fuzzy at best, but let me clear it up for you: this is not a joking matter. If your life is so pathetic that you have to try to revel in this man’s misfortune to try to find some meaning, please at least have the decency to just shut up about this.

  10. rolltide says: Dec 26, 2009 9:10 PM

    Minibull,
    Didn’t you hear Kiffin on the radio just now accuse Meyer of breaking NCAA rules by having heart problems in the presence of a recruit? You can’t do that you know, not during the dead period.

  11. overratedgators says: Dec 26, 2009 9:13 PM

    I wish I could be a fly on the wall watching tampalawyer’s head explode right now.

  12. Wrathchild says: Dec 26, 2009 9:13 PM

    His heart was ripped out of his chest when he lost to Bama in the SEC title game. Then, he cried.

  13. BorisBulldog says: Dec 26, 2009 9:45 PM

    If you read the seriousness of his health problems in the SI article on Urban Meyer 4 weeks ago, you’ll realize that he’ll be done as a HC.

  14. PolegoJim says: Dec 26, 2009 11:02 PM

    Done for a number of years, good health to you.

  15. Gailikk says: Dec 27, 2009 8:57 AM

    damn fans, act like you have class and be respectful for once. I know the tide fans were jealous but come on, you were once a great program ran by an even greater man, don’t disrespect him by taunting your rivals for making good decisions about life. That is the act of children, not grown ups. Even the Tennessee fans have the dignity to respect Meyer, the rest of you need to chill.
    Go UA Wildcats

  16. Daughter tries to put kibosh Urban-to-OSU talk | CollegeFootballTalk says: Apr 27, 2011 12:12 PM

    […] “I got my daddy back” after Meyer informed his family in December of 2009 that he was stepping down as the head coach of the Florida Gators. ┬áLess than 24 hours later, he had stepped back up as the […]

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