University of Florida football Head Coach Urba...

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One of the greatest coaches out there is stepping down due to health reasons.

Head coach of the Florida Gaters, Urban Meyer suffered chest pains that sent him to the hospital after Alabama beat his Florida Gators in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Dec. 5. Then yesterday, exactly three weeks later, the 45-year-old Meyer shook all of college football by saying he was stepping down. He resigned after five seasons and two national titles. In so many words, he said he needed to get his priorities straight.

He will coach his final game at the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati on New Year’s Day.

“I have given my heart and soul to coaching college football and mentoring young men for the last 24-plus years and I have dedicated most of my waking moments the last five years to the Gator football program,” Meyer said in a statement. “I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family.”

In a story on its Web site, The New York Times said Meyer’s decision was prompted by the hospital trip after the SEC game.

“There was no heart damage,” Meyer was quoted as saying. “But I didn’t want there to be a bad day where there were three kids sitting around wondering what to do next. It was the pattern of what I was doing and how I was doing it. It was self-destructive.”

Meyer told the paper he hadn’t thought about returning to coaching someday; he said he broke the news to his players Saturday.

“When your health flashes before your eyes, what’s before you means more than anything,” he told the Times. “I have a strong faith that there’s a reason for everything, and God has a plan for us. I just don’t know what it is.”

Athletic director Jeremy Foley surely will move quickly to find a replacement. [via]

We wish nothing but the best for Coach Meyer and hope his health improves.