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Urban Meyer Reportedly Taking Leave Of Absence

Note: We will live blog the Urban Meyer press conference starting at 4pm. In the mean time, we will update this story, top-down. The newest stuff will go here, unlike last night's post. Thanks for reading.

[3:55pm] Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin on twitter;

Hearing that Urban Meyer needs a heart valve replaced

With everything else, I might believe this.

[3:51pm] If Nikki Meyer, Urban's oldest daughter, said "I get my Daddy back," when Meyer said he was leaving, do you think Nathan Meyer, Urban's young son, said, "Dad, you should coach." And am I a terrible person for thinking this? Also, the Bucs and Saints go to OT after NO misses a 32 yarder. Yes, this is amazing.

[3:45pm] At 4pm, we'll go to a new story for Urban Meyer's expected press conference. Of course, Meyer is a late arriver, so don't expect him to be punctual.

[3:41pm] And now the Bucs have tied the Saints 17-17 with 2:25 left in the fourth, with a Michael Spurlock punt return touchdown. The Bucs have scored 17 unanswered points, because today is not insane enough.

[3:35pm] It will be hard to find a Gator who likes Steve Addazio, but the man is a good coach as he demonstrated with a stellar offensive line in the past four seasons. Can he be a care taker, especially with Meyer holding the strings and calling at least some of the shots? Does Meyer become Vito Corelone, Addazio is Sonny and Tim Tebow is Michael Corelone? Does Meyer need a Sicilian consigliere? Because I'm Sicilian. I could help, at least with carrying pads at practice.

[3:31pm] From the same ESPN/AP story linked below;

"There's no guarantees here," the person told the AP. "He could still walk away. He's got some significant concerns about his health and his tank and his family. But instead of cutting the cord, he's going to take a step back and see how he feels."

[3:26pm] Does this sound familiar? From ESPN, via the AP;

A person familiar with Meyer's decision told The Associated Press the coach woke up Sunday morning, got around his players at a short practice on campus and realized he wasn't quite ready to call it quits.

Maybe sort of like Billy Donovan?

Multiple sources said Donovan woke up Saturday morning and realized he had made a mistake. Donovan felt awful about what he had done and realized how much he loved coaching Florida.

[3:21pm] The New York Times get Addazio on the phone and Addazio says he's the interim coach. Who knew New York was a SEC town?

The Gators’ offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio, said in a telephone interview that he would serve as the interim coach in Meyer’s absence.


[3:15pm] By the way, we've done this before. When Billy Donovan apparently left for the Orlando Magic, we constantly blogged about it on our old site, The Sporting Orange.

[3:10pm] Schlabach on ESPN News on the numerous rumors, "I've heard a leave of absence as long as 2 months and 2 years." It doesn't help that the Florida Gators have a huge number of hanger ons always willing to get their name on a reporter's cell phone.

[3:01pm] ESPN now goes with Meyer in the Sugar Bowl, Addazio until Meyer is ready to return. 

[3:00pm] Jeremy Fowler and the Orlando Sentinel, ESPN's guys and the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin have been fantastic in keeping track with this after being blindsided like we were. But, no reporting can replace Meyer's scheduled press conference at 4:30pm. He has been on the record to the NY Times and Gainesville Sun and his wife and defensive coach on the record to the Orlando Sentinel. But we need to hear from Meyer when the questions are coming from all angles and there is no filter. We all want Meyer to come back. But, we are also as concerned about his health and family, as that is what led to the original decision. Meyer doesn't have to detail conversations with his family, but he owes it to everyone to again explain why he is making this decision. 

[2:53pm] The Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler, a former Independent Alligator writer like yours truly, gives us theline of the day.

Sorry, Lane Kiffin. Urban’s back. After 20 hours of absence.

[2:49pm] The Sentinel has more of Dan McCarney's quote, who is the only Gator representative on the record;

Meyer broke the news to the team before their boarded their flight to New Orleans, where they will play Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl on Friday. Assistant coach Dan McCarney confirmed the news before the team left Gainesville, saying of Meyer, "He walked around the practice field today and knew he made a mistake. We don't know if it's going to be one month, three months or six months, but he's coming back."

[2:40pm] Tom Rinaldi on ESPN News says Urban Meyer spoke to the team today and said he was taking a leave of absence. The younger players reacted excitedly to this. The Gators are reported to be in the process of flying to New Orleans. Also, the Independent Florida Alligator, THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA!, reported this at 1:50pm.

[2:35pm] In the ESPN story linked below and here, Mortensen's information about a season long leave of absence has been removed. This could be nothing or everything.

[2:34pm] From the Sentinel's twitter feed;

Gators D-line coach Dan McCarney on Urban's change of heart: "He was walking off the practice field and he knew he made a mistake."

[2:30pm] One point to make now; no one is on the record. It's all unnamed sources. Until there is someone on the record, this is all hearsay. From Hanson, "How come our coaches are the flip floppers?" Also, the leave of absence is not too crazy, as basketball coach Lute Olson did the same thing at Arizona, but ultimately retired before coaching another game. And since he mentioned his family as making this original decision, what is their influence on a leave of absence? 

[2:25pm] Obviously, we want Meyer to stay, especially if Steve Addazio is the other option. But Sweet Jesus, this is making for a hell of a lead to the Sugar Bowl. Also, the leave of absence is even more insane. Isn't that just a vacation?

From ESPN's Mark Schlabach;

Under a plan being discussed, Florida offensive coordinator Steve Adazzio would coach the Gators in the Sugar Bowl. Meyer, who cited health concerns as the reason for his retirement, would take a leave of absence and return to the team before the 2010 season.

However, a source close to the program told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Meyer would take a leave of absence for the entirety of the 2010 season. Adazzio would take over as interim coach for the season.


From the Sentinel;

Urban Meyer has changed his mind and decided to take an indefinite leave of absence rather than step aside, two UF sources told The Orlando Sentinel.

Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will take over as the interim head coach. More to come.

We are now in The Billy Donovan Zone. This afternoon's press conference is still set for 4:30pm Eastern. We better get some answers then.

The Orlando Sentinel also reported earlier today a text from Shelley Meyer;

Shelley Meyer, wife of Urban Meyer, said in a text message there’s "no chance" Meyer will change his mind about quitting his job as Gators coach.

"This is the best decision for him and us right now," Shelley said.

Do things change that quickly? Is Donovan advising Meyer? Why can't Florida coaches make a decision and stick with it?