Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Urban Meyer kept quiet about health issues in resigning as Florida Gators coach

Urban Meyer announces his resignation Wednesday, citing his family and denying that health was a factor.

Associated Press

Urban Meyer announces his resignation Wednesday, citing his family and denying that health was a factor.

GAINESVILLE — When he stood at the podium Wednesday and stunned the nation by resigning as Florida's football coach in his sixth season, Urban Meyer said his sole reason was to spend more time with his family.

It turns out, there was more to the story.

Meyer also resigned because of health reasons related to the medical issues that initially drove him away last December. The 46-year-old has a recurring burning sensation in his chest that doctors recently told him could increase his cardiovascular risk factors if he continued the lifestyle related to coaching.

Meyer insisted during his Wednesday news conference that his health was not an issue, and he stated that again during his Outback Bowl appearance Thursday in Tampa. Meyer will coach the Jan. 1 game against Penn State before turning the program over to new coach Will Muschamp.

Tampa Gator Club president Gigi Pelosi-Farrell said she doesn't fault Meyer for not revealing his illness. "You've got to feel sorry for him; it's a private matter but in his position it's hard to keep it private," she said. "He's got kids. If you're not well, you want to tell them something but maybe not all. It's got to be really tough to go through that. I don't wish that on anybody."

Meyer resigned Dec. 26, 2009, then rescinded that decision one day later. At the time, he said he had been experiencing chest pains for nearly two years that were similar to symptoms of a heart attack. He was later diagnosed with esophageal spasms and placed on medication, which he said had helped control the problem. He took an extended leave of absence during the spring to focus on his health, but he said last week that he knew when he returned it was year to year.

"It was," Meyer said. "I wanted to stretch as much as I could because of an obligation to this program and our coaching staff. … That's all I could think about last year at that time. It's still hard this year but at least I think there's some preparation that went into it. Year by year (was how he approached coming back). The reason last year was for my staff. There was not a lot of thought that went into last year, it just happened."

Meyer was recently told by doctors of the continuing risk factors, after which he informed athletic director Jeremy Foley of his decision to resign. He will be able to control his chest pain with the help of continued monitoring.

"It took a big man to say 'I just can't go,' " said Danny Ponce, a member of Florida's University Athletic Association board of directors. "To walk away, it takes a big person. Somebody else might have just said, 'Well, I'll just back it down and go through the motions.' But not Urban. He's either excellence or he's out. I applaud him for the decision."

Urban Meyer kept quiet about health issues in resigning as Florida Gators coach 12/12/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 12, 2010 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …