Florida's Meyer Will Take Leave Of Absence In Lieu Of Resignation
Dec. 27, 2009
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Florida coach Urban Meyer is taking an indefinite leave of absence instead of resigning and expects to be on the sideline leading the Gators when next season opens.
"I do in my gut believe that will happen," Meyer said Sunday at a Sugar Bowl news conference.
Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will run the team during Meyer's absence, but Meyer will be the coach against No. 4 Cincinnati on New Year's Day.
"It's full speed ahead. We're going to do everything possible to win this game," he said.
Less than 24 hours after resigning because of health concerns, Meyer changed his mind. He said he was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence earlier in the week by the university president. Sunday, after conferring with athletic director Jeremy Foley and his family he "accepted the offer to improve my health."
The 45-year-old Meyer said being with his players at a "spirited practice" Sunday morning persuaded him not to resign.
"To not try would not be the right thing to do," he said.
On Saturday night, Meyer shocked college football when he said he was stepping down after five seasons as Gators coach.
After the Southeastern Conference championship game three weeks ago, Meyer spent several hours in a Gainesville, Fla., hospital because of chest pains.
Meyer said Sunday he had experienced similar problems at times this season but had not had a heart attack. However, he would not elaborate on his physical condition. When asked if doctors advised him to stop coaching, Meyer again declined to answer.
Foley said when he went to sleep Saturday night he did not think there was any chance Meyer would change his mind.
"It was a long night for everybody in Gator nation," Foley said. "The intent here is to make sure Urban goes and deals with the issues we discussed last night."