Urban Meyer To Step Down as Florida Gartors Head Coach

Dan PieroniCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2009

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 5:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators looks on against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome on December 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In an unpredictable college season full of bombshells, such as LaGarette Blout's surprising sucker punch, and Dez Bryant being declared ineligible to play for violating NCAA rules, perhaps the biggest bombshell has just recently fallen within the past hour.

ESPN has just reported that Urban Meyer, arguably the most successful college football coach this decade, is stepping down at season's end.

Citing health concerns, the 45-year-old Meyer has decided to call it quits as head honcho of the University of Florida Gators.

After much consultation with his family, friends, and athletic director, Meyer announced Saturday Night that his enormously successful run at Florida will end after the Sugar Bowl on January 1.

Meyer was hospitalized with chest pains after the SEC championship game, and has decided to step away from the game as a precaution to concentrate on his health.

What will be debated amongst Gator fans for days to come is if this decision is the right move for Meyer.

After all, he seems like he has a cushy job, and is well liked respected by almost everyone.

He also has the highest winning percentage of any active FBS coach, and has led Florida to a 56-10 record in his five years there, including two national championships.

But why is such as successful coach who has everything deciding to walk away?

A leave of absence would make sense, after all coaching football is no picnic and leads to much stress.

But Meyer is young for a football coach, and appeared to be in relatively good health throughout the season. Thus, I'm sure this announcement perplexes many within the realm of college football.

In the same vein however, Meyer's decision to value his health over his job  is admirable. I'm sure the vast majority of us would make the same exact decision that coach Meyer did, if faced with the same predicament.

What will be deliberated most in the coming  days is where this decision leaves the university once Meyer leaves.

Will recruiting suffer?

What about team morale?

Most importantly, what if Meyer does come back someday? Will Gators fans feel cheated if he finds success somewhere else?

What will not be debated though is that whoever has the daunting task of replacing Meyer will have some pretty tough shoes to fill.

But then again, Meyer had a lot of expectation to fulfill himself, and did.

Therefore, I would feel confident that the next man to lead the Gators into the swamp will be no slouch.

You can bet on it.