GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Urban Meyer is walking away from Florida because of health concerns, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Meyer has a recurring burning sensation in his chest that doctors told him last week would raise cardiovascular risk factors if he continued to coach, the person told The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because Meyer’s health issues are confidential.
The Gainesville Sun first reported the story.
Meyer announced his resignation Wednesday and said health was not the reason he was walking away. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The person with knowledge of Meyer’s health said the coach can resolve his chest pain with “constant monitoring,” which he already has started doing.
Meyer first resigned Dec. 27, 2009, three weeks after he was rushed to a hospital because of chest pain. He changed his mind the following day and instead decided to take a leave of absence. He scaled back some, but changed little about his work habits once the season began.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Wednesday that Meyer has worked his tail off.
“You think of what he’s rebuilt. He built one at Bowling Green, he built one at Utah, he built one here,” Foley said. “It’s not just sacrifices here the last six years. That’s 10 years of their lives, not to mention what he did before that as an assistant coach. It’s his time to step back and spend time with his family. You’re not getting it back. I admire him for that.”
Meyer hasn’t ruled out coaching again. His future likely will be tied to his health. Meyer was diagnosed with esophageal spasms in January and began taking medicine to treat them.
The person with knowledge of Meyer’s health said the spasms have been under control, but other symptoms have lingered. Those prompted Meyer to talk with doctors and family members, and then he decided that continuing to coach at his current pace would be too risky.
Meyer will coach his final game in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 against Penn State, but he intends to remain in Gainesville and continue to work in the athletic department.
Florida hired Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to succeed Meyer on Saturday. Muschamp has the dubious task of replacing Meyer after 64 wins and two national championships in six seasons.