Will He? Won’t He? : Urban Meyer Calls an Indefinite Timeout

27 Dec

The sports world was all abuzz yesterday when Urban Meyer, The University of Florida’s most winning head coach announced his plans to resign as The Gator’s football coach, amid health concerns.  Addressing the fact that his anxiety over his health initially began some 4 years ago, Meyer revealed that he’d had significant chest pains for the past two years; pains that ultimately led to his admittance to the hospital after the Gator’s heartbreaking (no pun intended) SEC Championship loss (and subsequent rankings plunge) to Alabama on December 5th.  But anyone familiar with Gator football and the perfectionist that is Urban Meyer knows that the commitment to his career and student-athletes, coupled with the stress and nature of running a football program…an immensely successful football program could indeed lead to considerable health complications if left unchecked.

 In Orlando, visiting family for the holiday break, my honey couldn’t get over how so much of the local conversation, whether at the grocery store or the neighborhood Brazilian Steakhouse seemed to surround Urban’s decision and the fate of the Gators.  Personally, I was surprised that my honey was so taken aback by people’s disquieted reactions to Meyer’s resignation (considering that we both were accepted to UF although chose to attend college elsewhere).  He of all people should understand the bond that is GATOR NATION, being a card carrying member and all.

But before I could rationalize the idea of a Meyer-less Gator’s sideline, Urban announced today that instead of the resignation that he’d announced a bit prematurely, he now intends to take an indefinite leave of absence from The University of Florida.  Admitting that his return (or in this case, his resignation recantation) had a lot to do with his love for the players, he plans to get himself “fixed” before any plans to return to coaching, but hinted that he believed he’d be ready for work come opening day of the 2010.  As much as this excites me though, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to still being concerned about Urban Meyer’s health.  In addition to his admitted chest pains, Urban also copes with debilitating headaches due to a cyst on his brain. 

 So is Urban’s decision to stay at the university one made of pure emotion instead of one made with regard to his well being?  Does getting “fixed” require any extensive surgical procedures?  Considerable recovery downtime?  A significantly lighter workload?  He currently plans to delegate the head coaching role to UF Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio, but will Meyer be willing to continue delegating other important coaching roles and duties upon his return?

 Now, I’d be remiss if I did not mention Urban Meyer’s extensively decorated coaching career; the best winning percentage among major college coaches with a minimum of five seasons (.841, 95-18 in nine season), the highest winning percentage in Florida history (.848, 56-10 in five seasons), and leading the Gators to two of their three national titles, all of which makes Meyer a forced to be reckoned with as a superior football strategist and scheme executor.  He was also recently named “Coach of the Decade by both Sports Illustrated and Sporting News.

 And although I’d love to see him coaching at UF for the next ten years, the issues with his health certainly seem like a lot to contend with while still being expected to maintain the demanding and fast-paced lifestyle of a collegiate head coach.  My hope however, is that regardless of what Meyer decides, he remains successful in all his endeavors, and won’t be afraid to let go when the time is right!

 I am a member of the Gator Nation, and I approve this message.


I’m Packing Up,



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