By Alex Simon and Paul M. Banks
First Billy Donovan, now Urban Meyer has unexpectedly stepped down. However, Meyer is not leaving the University of Florida for another job. And his reasons for leaving are far more serious than money offered by the Orlando Magic. Tonight he stunned the college football world with his announcement that he is stepping down as coach due to a non-life threatening heart muscle defect. Meyer resigns while residing at the pinnacle of the college football world, with the Gators going 56-and-10 with two national championships during his five seasons at the Swamp.
Meyer released a statement through the University’s athletic communication department, he is doing this for health reasons. Contrary to earlier reports, he will coach the Gators in their New Year’s Day Sugar Bowl match-up against undefeated Cincinnati. Meyer will take on a new and yet to be defined job with the University after the Sugar Bowl. He will assume a non-coaching role. Under Meyer, Florida compiled a school-record 22-game winning streak that ended earlier this month against Alabama in the SEC championship. It is being said that he suffered a heart attack at some point this season.
Meyer says he consulted with his family, his doctors, school president Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley before deciding it is in his best interest to focus on his health and family. According to the latest reports, the 45 year old Meyer’s health is not life threatening. However, Meyer has been in and out of the hospital due to chest pains since the SEC Championship game against Alabama. Details are few and far between at this time, but obviously a highly-publicized, high stress job can’t be good for a cardiac condition.