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The latest on college sports in Florida

Turn of events in Gainesville: Urban Meyer to take leave of absence, Steve Addaizo to take interim role



Addazio Less than 24 hours after he announced he would step down as Florida's head football coach, Urban Meyer and Florida have a new plan in mind.

Meyer will take an indefinite leave of absence from the program, but will not resign. The leave is scheduled to begin immediately after the Gators' Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl game against Cincinnati.

There is no set timetable for his return, and both he and UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said Meyer will not return until his health has significantly improved.

Gators' offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as interim head coach in Meyer's absence.

Meyer said he was compelled to return because of the love he has for his players. Meyer said the reality of walking away hit him hard during Sunday morning's practice.

"During this past week, I was offered and encouraged to consider taking a leave of absence,'' Meyer said during a press conference Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. "After careful consderation and spending time this morning at practivce with my players and coaches I care so deeply about, I accepted this offer to improve my health. We have developed a program I'm very proud of at the University of Florida. I owe it to our players, our staff, my family and the University of Florida to get healthy.''

Meyer, 45, announced Saturday night that he planned to resign after the Sugar Bowl game due to health reasons. He suffers from a cyst on the brain that causes excruciating headaches and has had bouts of chest pains over the past several years that are akin to a heart attack.

He was hospitalized a few hours after the Dec. 5 SEC Championship game in Atlanta after suffering chest pains. He underwent hours of tests, was treated for dehydration and was released later that day.

All indications on Saturday were that Meyer would not take a leave, which had been offered, because he felt his personality and style of coaching was of such that he was headed for major health issues if he continued. He did not rule out coaching again in the future.

In a statement released by the university, Meyer said: "After consulting with my family, Dr. (Bernie) Machen, Jeremy Foley (UF athletic director) and my doctors, I believe it is in my best interest to step aside and focus on my health and my family.  I'm proud to be a part of the Gainesville community and the Gator Nation and I plan to remain in Gainesville and involved with the University of Florida.''

Meyer said on Saturday he would remain with the university in a different capacity, but after watching his

Addazio, 50, is the Gators' first-year offensive coordinator who has been with the Gator program since 2005. During his tenure at Florida, he has served as tight ends and offensive line coach. He came to Florida after spending three years at Indiana, the final season as offensive coordinator.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:33pm]


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