Meyer resigned over health risks


After Florida's 48-14 victory over Kentucky early this season, coach Urban Meyer is joined by his daughter Gigi, 17, his son Nate, 11, and wife Shelley.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer/File
Published: Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

Urban Meyer is stepping away from his job as head football coach at Florida because of health reasons that make it too risky to continue coaching, a source told The Gainesville Sun on Saturday.

Meyer was told by doctors last week that the symptoms he continues to experience — including burning sensations in his chest — would raise his cardiovascular risk factors, so he decided it necessitated his resignation, according to the source. Meyer had been told a year ago that if his symptoms continued it would increase his cardiovascular risks if he kept coaching.

After talking with his family last week, Meyer told Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley of his decision two weeks after vowing to rebuild a program that had slipped to 7-5 this season.

Meyer planned on returning for a seventh season and told The Sun a month ago there was "no chance" he would walk away from the job after this season. But that was before he was told about the risk escalating because of his symptoms.

On Wednesday, Meyer officially stepped away from the program he had built into one of the best in the country. In six seasons, Meyer won two national championships and 64 games as the head Gator.

Last December, Meyer announced that he was stepping away from coaching because of health concerns over chest pains. After changing his mind a day later, Meyer was diagnosed with esophageal spasms and began taking medicine to treat them.

While the spasms have been under control, other symptoms have continued, which forced Meyer to make the decision that continuing to work on the Gator sideline is too risky.

Meyer will coach the Outback Bowl game on Jan. 1 in Tampa against Penn State before turning the program over to a new coach.

He said he plans to stay in Gainesville and has said he wants to be involved with the UF program in some capacity if it's OK with the new coach.

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