As initially reported by Brett McMurphy of Fanhouse, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is set to step down from the head coaches position effective after the 2011 Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day against Penn State. A press conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern for Florida’s athletic department to formally announce the news although the school’s athletic website already has the news available.
Meyer informed Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley over the weekend that the thought of resigning was floating in his head and on Tuesday the decision became finalized. Meyer informed his team of his decision Wednesday afternoon.
“I have been a Division I football coach for the last 25 years and, during that time, my primary focus has been helping my teams win titles,” Meyer said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and I am a fierce competitor to my core. At this time in my life, however, I appreciate the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field. The decision to step down was a difficult one.
“But after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I’ve been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports. I know how fortunate I am to be in a position to make this choice and to have a family that is as loving and supportive as my amazing wife and children have always been.”
Meyer coached the Gators to a pair of BCS Championships and won a pair of SEC Championships and three SEC East Division championships to go along with them. With Florida Meyer is 64-15 in a stretch that began in 2005. This season Florida went 7-5, which guarantees that this will be the first season Meyer has failed to win at least nine games for Florida.
It was almost a year ago to the day that Meyer was admitted to a hospital following the SEC Championship game loss to Alabama to take care of chest pains and dehydration. After discussing the situation with his family Meyer announced that he would resign from the head coaching position at Florida and cited his health and family as reasons for doing so. A day after making that announcement Meyer back tracked from resigning and instead said he would take a leave of absence form the football program. After coaching the Gators to a Sugar Bowl victory against Cincinnati Meyer stepped aside for a brief time and returned in time for spring practices in Gainesville.
Florida is now the tenth school to have a coaching change this season. The Gators join Miami, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Ball State, Kent State and Vanderbilt in the search for a new head coach.