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Urban Meyer Is Not Stepping Down: Just Taking Time Off

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27:   Head coach Urban Meyer of the University of Florida Gators left, speaks as quarterback Tim Tebow listens during a press conference on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Meyer is going to take a leave of absense from the team due to health concerns.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Carlos PinedaCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2009

University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer held a press conference Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, choosing to take an indefinite leave of absence.

Less than 24 hours following the bombshell announcement where he stepped down from the current college football Mecca, Meyer retracted his initial decision.

Gator Nation can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their head coach will not step down. For the time being, Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has been named the interim head coach.

“During the past couple of days I was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence,” said Meyer at the Allstate Sugar Bowl press conference. “I’ve accepted this offer to improve on my health.” 

The Sugar Bowl match up against Cincinnati on January 1st will be Meyer’s last game on the Gators sideline until he decides to return.

"It's full speed ahead,” Meyer said about the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game.  “We're going to do everything possible to win this game."

Meyer is not the first Florida head coach to flop on his decision to leave the Southeastern Conference (SEC) School.  Like his counterpart, neighbor and good friend, Billy Donovan, the head basketball coach, Meyer had second thoughts about leaving the powerhouse program behind.

Following Florida’s second NCAA basketball championship Donovan accepted the head coaching position with the Orlando Magic on May 31, 2007. On June 2nd though, he had a change of heart and came to an agreement with the Magic to release him from his contract and return to UF.

Meyer resigned on Saturday due to health related issues. The coach was hospitalized following the team’s loss to Alabama in the conference championship game on December 5th. He admitted that he was in the hospital because of chest pains. The original report was due to dehydration.

He experienced similar problems at times throughout the season. Meyer suffered from unrelenting headaches that caused his arachnoid cyst to become inflamed by stress or excitement. Part of his problem and like many coaches is the endless hours put into a program.

When asked about the reasons for his sudden change, Meyer stated “the players.”  Considered an extension of his own family, when he was on the practice field on Sunday, he changed his mind about resigning. 

Through five seasons in Gainesville, Meyer has compiled a 56-10 record along with two national championships and two SEC titles. He is the only coach in the nation to win two BCS National Championships and the only SEC coach to win two outright titles. He spent two seasons each at Bowling Green and Utah before taking over the Florida head coaching position. His overall record stands at 95-18 and led the 2004 Utah team to the BCS, the first non-BCS team to do so.

The coach hopes to be on the sideline again in the fall for his sixth season at the Swamp.

"I do in my gut believe that will happen," Meyer said of a return in 2010.

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