Billy D on Meyer, balancing work with family


Florida men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan built a strong friendship with Urban Meyer during their six years working on the same campus.

The two are neighbors who live in adjoining houses on the same Haile Plantation Cul de Sac. They attend the same Catholic church in Gainesville. Both have families with teengage and pre-teen children.

“Urban is a close friend of mine, and coaching aside, I care more about Urban Meyer the person,” Donovan said in a statement released on the Florida men’s basketball Twitter account. “My main concern is for he and his family and their peace.  As long as he is at peace with his decision, then I’m happy for he and his family.”

Donovan  somewhat foreshadowed the pressures Meyer faced when he resigned for a day six months ago. Last December, Meyer cited health and family reasons for his decision to leave. This time, Meyer said it was strictly family reasons.

Donovan said last December he could relate to Meyer’s family issues because it’s something he’s faced every day in his 15 years as Florida coach.

“I don’t think people really understand what happens and what goes on, and I think at least hearing some of Urban’s comments when he initially was going to step away, I can certainly relate and understand …,” Donovan said last December. “It’s very hard to balance – it’s nearly impossible to balance – because you are living with yourself knowing there is more you can be doing. And when you get put into situations every single day, every minute of every day, to make a decision between your wife, your kids and your job, and then when you spend time with one of them, you worry about neglecting the other one, it is an incredible emotional drain.”

Donovan said the pressure to win combined with the pressure to keep your family happy is a difficult balance. He admitted that early in his UF career, he didn’t balance career and family properly. Now Donovan said he has found a better balance between the two.

“You put a lot of pressure on yourself more so than anything else,” Donovan said. “You hold yourself accountable and responsible in a lot of different ways – you feel a tremendous sense of obligation to this institution, to the fans and the people because it’s a great, great place.

“And you know you’re living it every single day. People think when the season ends, oh, it’s just great to get away. Sometimes the off-seasons are more difficult than the season actually is itself.”


  1. i wonder how our military men and women feel about a guy quitting a 4 mil. job so he can go watch his kids play sports and spend more time at home. They do a lot more ,miss a lot more, and do it for a lot less then he makes.,and saving the U.S.A. at the same time.Thanks for what Urban did, but not impressed with any of his reasons. happens everyday to ordinary peopel and they find a way.

  2. Prodcuewiz, WTF? How is that in any way relavent? Everybody lives their own lives and different situations arise whether in a warzone or not. By this logic, nobody has anything to be stressed over unless they have the chance of losing their life. My friend who was in Iraq said he pretty much sat on his butt 90% of the time bored and played a lot of cards. Not taking anything away from our service men and women because I respect their sacrefice, just sayin. Urbans stress levels are valid and I don’t envy the issues faced by any D-1 coach at a premier program (the money does help though).

  3. Give me a break!!!!!! 4 Million dollars a year and you are having a hard time finding balance!!! We gave him a 2 months off plus whatever vacation that he had coming!!!! We should have honored his first request last year!!! We should have learned our lesson from when Donovan tried to quit! Neither program has been the same since!!!!