Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley announced on Saturday afternoon that head coach Urban Meyer will step down after coaching the Gators in next week's Sugar Bowl.
ESPN.com is reporting that Meyer will step down due to health concerns. ESPN is also reporting that Meyer had chest pain the night Florida lost to Alabama in the SEC title game. It was reported that Meyer was hospitalized and treated for dehydration after that game.
Sports Illustrated reported last month that Meyer has an arachnoid cyst, which causes persistent headaches.
According to the report from ESPN, Meyer consulted with his family, school president Bernie Machen and Foley.
“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 a 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.”
The ESPN.com report says that Meyer, 45, will remain with the Florida program in a non-coaching role.
“Coach Meyer and I have talked this through and I realize how hard this was for him to reach this decision,” Foley said in a statement. “But, the bottom line is that Coach Meyer needed to make a choice that is in the best interest of his well being and his family. I certainly appreciate what he has meant to the University of Florida, our football program and the Gator Nation. I have never seen anyone more committed to his players, his family and his program. Above all, I appreciate our friendship.”
Meyer had head coaching stints at Bowling Green and Utah before landing at Florida. In five season as Florida's head coach, Meyer has a 56-10 overall record, including a 32-8 record in SEC play. He is the only coach to win two BCS national titles and he's also the only coach to win two outright SEC championships.
Meyer is expected to hold a press conference from New Orleans on Sunday afternoon.
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