Q&A on Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer's decision to take leave of absence

What is the medical condition that has forced the Gators' Urban Meyer to step away from coaching temporarily?

Meyer declined to talk about specifics Sunday at a news conference, but it appears to be a combination of a medical issue related to his heart and the stress that accompanies a demanding job. Meyer, 45, said he has had chest pains for four years and that they had become "significant" in the past two. He denied that he has had a heart attack. Asked if he was going to have any procedures to help his situation, Meyer said, "That's something that we'll find out."

When did he make the decision to step away?

After his trip to the hospital a few hours following the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 5, Meyer said, he contemplated his future and made the decision on Christmas Day.

What happened after the SEC Championship Game?

Meyer told the New York Times that he had lost 20 pounds in the 10 days leading up to the game and experienced chest pains after it. He said he also lost consciousness while having the pains, which hadn't happened before. He was taken to Shands at the University of Florida hospital in Gainesville by ambulance and released the afternoon of Dec. 6 after nine hours of tests. He said he has had several episodes since.

How far had the Gators gotten in their efforts to find a permanent replacement for Meyer after he first announced he would resign?

Athletic director Jeremy Foley said preliminary discussions had been held internally but officials were still in the beginning stages of a search.

Had a leave of absence been discussed before Meyer made his decision to resign?

Yes, apparently that offer had been on the table and discussed.

Will Meyer get paid during his leave of absence?

Foley said, "He's still our head coach," implying that Meyer will be paid according to the terms of his contract. This year Meyer signed a six-year, $24 million contract extension, making him the third-highest-paid college football coach.

How involved will Meyer be in coaching the Gators in Friday's Sugar Bowl?

Completely. His leave won't begin until after the game against Cincinnati.

What effect will this have on recruiting?

There are two schools of thought. The first one: none. Florida's 2010 class is ranked No. 1 by ESPN, and no mass exodus has occurred since the Meyer news broke Saturday, though that could change before the Feb. 3 signing day. Still, Meyer will be back, likely sooner rather than later. The second school of thought: The effect will be plenty. If you think schools battling for a recruit won't use this against the Gators, you don't know the dog-eat-dog world of recruiting. "You really want to play for Steve Addazio, a lame duck?" "There's no telling when, or even if, Meyer will be back, and even if he does return, he could just as easily make another quick exit." And those are the more tame things opposing recruiters will say.

Q&A on Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer's decision to take leave of absence 12/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 9:20am]

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