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Urban Meyer stepping down to focus on family

Urban Meyer officially announced that he would step down as Florida’s head coach after the Gators’ final game of the season, the Outback Bowl in Tampa on Jan. 1 against Penn State.

Meyer, 46, made the announcement during a press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on Wednesday evening.

Florida confirmed earlier on Wednesday that Meyer would be stepping down during the press conference.

“I’m stepping down as head football coach at the University of Florida to focus on family and my other interests away from the sidelines,” Meyer said.

Meyer reiterated more than once during the press conference that he is not stepping down due to health reasons.

“To say that there wasn’t scare, that would be incorrect,” Meyer said of his health issues about a year ago. “That is not the reason for this press conference today.”

Meyer said he wanted to spend time with his family, especially his children. Meyer said he has not seen his girls play varsity sports. “My best friend’s up in Georgia Tech and my other best friend is a high school senior,” Meyer said of his children.

It was nearly a year ago that Meyer announced his resignation due to health reasons. Meyer had suffered chest pains during last season's SEC title game and stepped down a day after Christmas. A few days later Meyer announced that he had a change of heart and was taking an indefinite leave of absence, but would be back on the Florida sideline for the start of the 2010 season.

Meyer called last year’s brief resignation a “knee jerk reaction.” He said that this decision feels different and he’s doing what’s best for Florida and his family.

“Last year was a wake-up call,” Meyer said. “Earlier this week I had a conversation with (Florida athletic director) Jeremy (Foley) about some thoughts I was having and made the decision.”

The 2010 season has been a tough one for Meyer. The Gators finished 7-5, including three straight losses to Alabama (31-6), LSU (33-29) and Mississippi State (10-7). The losses to LSU and Mississippi State were at home. The Gators also lost at home to South Carolina (36-14) and at rival Florida State (31-7).

"Florida deserves the best and I'm not sure we gave them our best this year, but there's never perfect timing,” Meyer said.

Meyer said he will help with the search for the new coach and he will do whatever he can to keep the current recruiting class together. Meyer said he has contacted some recruits already and will call more recruits later Wednesday evening.

In six seasons at Florida, Meyer has a 64-15 record with two national championships.

"I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate what this university has done for myself and my family," Meyer said.

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