What is it with the University of Florida and coaches changing their minds? A few years ago, Florida's two-time national championship-winning head basketball coach Billy Donovan left Florida for an NBA job, only to return a few days later.
Now, Florida has another coach taking the Gainesville school on a roller-coaster ride: Urban Meyer. The highly accomplished, highly respected football coach resigned from his post on Saturday, citing serious health concerns. Speculation about who would replace Meyer and where the 45-year-old coach might end up in the future flew. Then, Meyer changed his mind.
A day after announcing his resignation, Meyer said he would instead take a leave of absence, the Miami Herald reports. Following Florida's Sugar Bowl matchup against Cincinnati on New Year's Day, Meyer will have an indefinite break from his job, but he is not quitting after all.
"To not try would be not the right thing to do," Meyer tells the Herald. "What I didn't want to have happen, and I made this clear to [Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley], if I am able to go coach, I want to coach at one place, the University of Florida. It would be a travesty—it would be ridiculous—to all of a sudden come back and get the feeling back, get the health back, feel good again, and then all of a sudden go throw some other colors on my shirt and go coach."
Florida was happy to accept back its coach with two national titles in four seasons, even if Meyer needs some time to recuperate and relax after the Sugar Bowl. Meyer suffered severe chest pains after Florida's SEC championship game loss to Alabama and had to be rushed to the hospital on two separate occasions. Meyer also has an arachnoid cyst, which can cause painful headaches when he is under stress.
One thing is clear: It wouldn't be Florida without drama.