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Urban Meyer remains active in critical aspects of the program; Billy Donovan sympathizes with Meyer



Meyermugshot Although Florida head football coach Urban Meyer is officially on an indefinite leave of absence, he remains involved in critical elements of the Gators' football operations - at least for now.

According to Florida athletic officials, Meyer has remained involved with recruiting via phone calls, and is actively participating in decisions related to the hiring of assistant coaches. The Gators hired two new coaches earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan, who is a personal friend of Meyer's, said he completely understands what Meyer is going through. Donovan, who took a job several years ago with the Orlando Magic, then decided he wanted to stay at Florida, said it's a delicate balance trying to juggle family and career for every working person, but particularly for coaches. 

"I think it's a daily struggle, it's a daily battle for me personally as a coach, as a father, as a husband, as friend, as a son,'' Donovan said. "I totally understand where Urban is at, maybe moreso than a lot of people. I think a lot of people think, in their own way, that this is all about a guy needing a break. It's not about that. What happens is when you do your job, and part of the reason why I think Urban is successful and guys are successful in coaching, is because it takes a laser focus to be totally tuned in to what you're doing. And you have blinders on. And what happens when you have blinders on is when you're home, you're not home. When you're with your wife, you're not with your wife. When you're with your kids you're not with your kids because you're (focused) all the time and it's almost like it's all you're dealing with.

"But then what happens is, Donovan said, "when you get back down and brought back into your world, into reality and a level of balance, there's a level of guilt that comes into play. Have I been a good enough father? Have I been a good enough husband? Have I been a good enough person? Have I gotten so wrapped up in my job that I've forgotten everything else around me? And then when you do try to balance those things, you feel like I need to be doing more with my job. I did more last year with my job, I recruited harder last year. So it is a battle. To me, every minute you're under attack with how you're handling that.''

Donovan said how people deal with the pressure of finding that balance varies with each individual, but it's a necessity for survival.

"I think everybody's job has gotten to a (higher) level because of internet and access and information and all this other stuff.'' Donovan said. "And it's gotten to a point where everybody's dealing with that. And it gets to a point where sometimes I think people say, enough is enough. It's time for me to take a step back and figure out, in this day and age, how I can manage this a little bit better. And I'm sure Urban is trying to figure that out right now for himself. And I can tell you right now, for him, he's got to gain a level of peace in his heart that whatever he's going through, he feels like he's doing both those things well.''

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:34pm]


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