When I heard about Urban Meyer stepping down, first thing I thought of was how soon it would be before he went Billy Donovan on us. This morning, the ORLANDO SENTINEL asked Meyer’s wife Shelley about the possibility:
This morning Meyer told Pat Dooley of the GAINESVILLE SUN that he actually thought seriously about quitting in 2006:
“I had health issues at Notre Dame that were a warning light,” he said, referring to an arachnoid cyst on his brain that he said caused blackouts. “I’d try to back off a little bit but I can’t do that. When I came to Florida, the chest pains were controlling my life. I’d see a guy every year and ask him, ‘Why do I keep having these? Why does this keep happening?’
“I told Shelley after the 2006 championship that if we can get this program to the top and walk out of it with my health that’s what I needed to do.”
In the summer of 2007, reality hit when Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser died of a heart attack.
“After he went down, it really hit me,” he said. “It got worse. I kept going in for tests and they said my heart was fine. But the pains kept coming.
“It got bad, real bad. I was on a lot of medication.”
Dooley also reported this morning that not all of the Florida players were, apparently, cool with the coach’s decision:
“That was hard, real hard,” he said. “There were a lot of emotions in that room. A couple of players stood up and said some things.
“I’m going through a lot of soul-searching today. I feel like I have let a lot of people down.”
Benjamin Volin of the PALM BEACH POST also notes that the top player in Meyer’s 2010 recruiting class, Matt Elam, was allegedly “pissed” about the coach’s abrupt departure:
Dooley adds in his piece this morning that, “Meyer will remain in Gainesville and will have a role with the football program that has yet to be defined.”
With all due respect, if AD Jeremy Foley hires a new coach from outside the program, the last thing that new head man is going to want is Meyer hanging around. No doubt Meyer knows that, with the “always a Gator” rhetoric most likely damage control directed at the 2010 recruiting class he worked so hard to procure.
Bob Stoops, Dan Mullen, Chris Peterson, Kevin Sumlin, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Mularkey, Kyle Whittingham, Jim Harbaugh, Skip Holtz, Randy Edsall, Mike Shanahan, Gary Patterson and even Larry Fedora (Southern Miss) are all names I’ve heard so far as possible replacements for Meyer.
Former UF DC Charlie Strong is another possibility for some, but not Mike Bianchi at the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Bianchi on the current Louisville head coach:
Whom will UF athletic director Jeremy Foley hire as Meyer’s replacement? According to sources, it won’t be Strong, the popular and highly successful defensive coordinator who just took the job at Louisville.
Interesting considering the comments of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich this morning, not to mention Foley’s own actions regarding Strong in recent days. Read more…