Urban Meyer’s gut says he will coach in 2010

By Adam Silverstein
December 27, 2009

In what can only be described as a somber yet hope-filled press conference, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer told reporters he believes deep down inside that he will return to the sidelines in 2010. “I do, in my gut, believe that will happen,” Meyer said.

Though Meyer shied away from answering any questions about his health, he did admit that his chest pains have been a worry for the last four years and gotten progressively worse over time. “It’s chest pains – they became rather significant two years ago,” Meyer explained. “I was advised that I have to get this right or it could lead to damage.” Asked if his personality or job was leading to the issues, Meyer responded “yes” as those in attendance laughed. He added that he was not sure whether or not he would need a procedure. “That’s something I am going to find out as well,” Meyer said.

Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will be named interim coach of the team after Meyer takes a leave following the 2010 Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats, Meyer confirmed during the press conference. “It’s full speed ahead,” he said. “We are going to do everything possible to win this game.”

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley sat next to Meyer on the stage and had plenty to say about his coach’s personality and future. “Our primary concern is coach Meyer and his health, getting him fixed,” Foley said. “He will have the opportunity to do that.” Pressed about Meyer’s contractual status and imminent future, Foley looked a bit puzzled at the question. “He is the head coach of the University of Florida,” Foley quipped. “The head coach of the University of Florida is taking a leave of absence.”

Though Foley offered Meyer the “leave of absence” solution a week to 10 days ago when the subject was first broached, it was not considered an option until Meyer got on the practice field early Sunday and saw how hard his staff and players were working. “I’ve accepted this offer to improve my health,” he said. “I want to make sure I do right by my family. My second family is my players and my staff.” Meyer said the main reason for his change of heart is simply “the love that I have for these players.”

Meyer also noted that the way he coaches could have much to do with how he has been feeling recently, seeing as he blames himself when a player flunks a class or gets in trouble or when the team loses a big game. “I have to learn to delegate and function,” he said. “I [have] lived a 30-year coaching career in nine years. I cannot do that. I’m not very smart.” Foley agreed with some of Meyer’s comments. “Urban Meyer is very very successful because of how he has done things. Part of this process is evaluating how he has been doing things.” The Gators’ AD added that he wants Meyer to keep his style and edge but figure out a way to continue coaching with less stress and anxiety.

Seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Ryan Stamper sat besides Meyer up on the podium. Both recounted Meyer telling them he loved them during Saturday practice, noting that something did not seem well. “I knew something wasn’t right,” Tebow said. “We just want what’s best for our dad – coach Meyer.” Stamper told a similar story. “I could see it in coach Meyer’s face that something was wrong,” he said. “He told me he loved me, I told him I loved him back.”

Tebow commended Meyer for both his initial choice and change of mind. “I admire him for the decisions he’s made,” Tebow said. “As a team we support him, as Gator Nation we support him. I think he’s making the best decision.”

While the last few weeks have been tough for him, Meyer reiterated his dedication to UF and the Gators. Asked if he thought about leaving, getting healthy and then returning to coach at another school, Meyer scoffed. “It would be a travesty – it would be ridiculous to feel good again, throw on some other colors and go coach. I will always be a Gator and represent the Gators.”

12 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    I’m waiting for the story to break about Urban’s wife pelting him with footballs as he sped out of their neighborhood causing an almost near accident.

    The information being told to us is what I would pin as maybe a third of what is really going on.

  2. That is correct – we are not getting the whole story. However, when it comes to someone’s health, it is their private business. Whether Meyer had a heart attack, needs to replace a valve, has a heart muscle issue or has another problem does not matter. If Jeremy Foley, one of Meyer’s close friends and his boss, trusts in Meyer and is comfortable with the situation – Gator Nation should be too. This is one of the best athletic directors in the country calling the shots.

  3. Rumor has it that Addazio turned down a head coach interview in order to do this for Meyer and the Gators. May not like his playcalling, but you have to admire his character.

  4. ReptilesRule says:

    Coach Meyer made the right decision. This is best for all parties and even if Urban decides to take 2010 off, I believe he will come back recharged and ready to coach and with a whole new perspective. I just hope he doesn’t try to come back before he is truly ready and then have to step down again. He should take an entire year if he’s not ready for fall camp.

  5. Aligator says:

    character … great! 8-4 next year if UM does not come back. How is that for character, you think he wasn’t thinking'”hey this could be a permanent gig”?? that was exactly what he was thinking, how do you like that character … the same character that bs’s us each week with ron zook answer to questions and ron zook solutions to things that needs to be fixed. we are working hard, dealing with things, gonna coach em up and get better. BS!!

  6. Wow people are really going off the deep end about this, huh? You really believe that Addazio thinks he could turn into the permanent head coach at Florida? No chance in hell. Just because you don’t like a guy does not mean you have to trash him for absolutely no reason. Let’s all relax please.

  7. Sarasota 'cane says:

    Aligator I think UF was an 8-4 team whether Meyer was there or not. The whole situation is very unusual, even by college football standards.

  8. Mr2Bits says:

    Adam,
    I think people are trashing Adazzio becuase of his clear inability to lead a team. With his pop-warner play calling and inability to make adjustments he is a spitting image of the bubble screen zooker.

  9. Mr2Bits-

    1) The players LOVE Addazio. Period.

    2) Addazio has NOT shown a “clear inability to lead.”

    3) Perhaps a clear inability to play-call, sure, that I can agree with! But as a coach and a leader – everyone loves him.

  10. Mr2Bits says:

    Adam,
    Same song and story as the Zooker. The players loved the Zooker. He beat up fraternities with them and he was a “players coach”. This leads to a lack of discipline and 4+ loss seasons.

  11. You’re jumping to the conclusion that Addazio is going to coach this team. He’s the interim coach NOT the new head coach. The move with Addazio was made for two reasons (1) there was no one else on staff that he could put in that role [this is very important to consider] and (2) it is a big-time show of solidarity to recruits and commits. I know you absolutely loathe everything about Addazio but I would suggest waiting for this to play out before you take the final step off the ledge.

  12. Aligator says:

    Just as in when SOS left, and a lot of people find their identity in all of this people are freaking for sure. Addozio is a good man, hard worker and a great position coach. He is a great motivator and a good leader as well. People are freaking because they have sort of been down this road, they think, and they are feeling unsettled. All of your points above are right on and yes we will all be alright. The Gators, the team, will be okay come what may and we will all be too. I mean it is not us playing and going through all of this and most of the media have no idea either. We will be fine and things will work out for everyone.

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