Imagine my surprise when I first heard and then read about the re-signing and retirement of Florida Gators’ football coach , Urban Meyer. Now to say that the ‘Gator Nation’ wasn’t caught flat-flooted by the announcement would be like stating that all the Titanic did was to strike an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic. There was far much more behind the event that met the eye. As is the case here with Urban Meyer.
Health issues asides , much of what we’re being told seems to be somewhat benign in many respects. We all know that a coach’s life is a pressured one. Especially where the program you oversee is a successful one and that is the envy of many schools across the nation. That’s not to say that Meyer’s statement aren’t valid. But he’s been in the position of coaching this program for the last four years. And it wasn’t as if he’d enter into the agreement of being hired that he’d done so with his eyes closed. He knew the expectations that awaited and of the legacy and tradition of the program. Herein lies the rub, the loss to Alabama 32-13 in the SEC championship game and the subsequent embarrassment may well have far too much to bear for the coach. Not only that but a great deal was expected of not only Florida but also its coaches , as it’d set out of defending its national championship title.
Courtesy of Gatorzone.com
Urban Meyer To Take Leave of Absence, Not Step Down; Addazio Named Interim Head Coach
University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer informed his team Sunday afternoon that he will take an indefinite leave of absence rather than step down. Meyer addressed the team shortly before the Gators boarded a plane to New Orleans for Friday evening’s Allstate Sugar Bowl.
“During the past couple of days I was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence,” said Meyer. “I’ve accepted this offer to improve on my health.”
The news came less than 24 hours after Meyer had announced he was stepping down as head coach. Meyer will still coach the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Friday evening before beginning his leave of absence.
Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as interim head coach during Meyer’s time away from the program.
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Now an about turn has been done by Meyer and subsequent to his original formal announcement, he’ll take an indefinite leave of absence from the team to deal with his health issues and to be alongside his family. Good or bad, this was a drastic step to be taken originally by the coach. One can only suspect that whatever the trauma he faced was indeed grave and needed his urgent attention. Far better to be a live coach rather than a dead one on the sidelines of game that you’re coaching.
Calmer heads have prevailed and the likelihood of the school losing its coach for good has been sidestepped for the moment. With Meyer deciding to take an indefinite leave of absence after he’s coached the team in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati . He’ll hand over the reins to his assistant coach , Steve Addazio until his impending return. Addazio is a well versed and highly thought of assistant And there should be no immediate drop off in terms of the coaching process. He’ll no doubt want the team to avail itself of the chance at redemption by showing that the loss to Alabama, while traumatic , they’ve been able to overcome it. So it is expected that the Gators will go out of their way to waylay whatever the Bearcats might offer up in terms of an effective opponent on the day.
If there’s any discomfort to be had in this story it is the skepticism with which it was initially met. I am not saying that there isn’t some veracity in the decision made by Urban Meyer. But at the same in the four years of his coaching this program , this is the first time something of this nature has come to the fore. And most certainly prior to this I am sure that he must’ve known whatever health issues he was in the midst of , had to have come into being at some point during his coaching tenure with the program. So it begs the question why here and why now ?
My own thought here is that Meyer came to the right conclusion but made an erroneous error in the timing of the announcement of his original decision. He ought to have ‘leaned back’ – do ‘the rockaway’ and really chilled before coming to his decision. If nothing else it’d wouldn’t have scared the ‘living hell’ out of avid Gators’ fans such as sportschump and the litany of others like him up down the state of Florida. They must’ve literally shat bricks when they first heard the news !
What were your original thoughts when you first heard the news ?