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Florida's Meyer quitting

The 45-year-old coach says he will step down for health reasons after the Gators play in the Sugar Bowl.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Urban Meyer resigned yesterday as Florida's football coach after five seasons and two national titles because of health concerns that came to light when he suffered chest pains following the Southeastern Conference championship game earlier this month.

The 45-year-old Meyer will coach his final game in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati on New Year's Day.

He leaves No. 5 Florida with a 56-10 record that includes a 32-8 mark in league play and a school-record 22-game winning streak, which was snapped by Alabama in the Dec. 5 SEC title game.

"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 reevaluate my priorities of faith and family."

Meyer said he consulted with his family, doctors, school president Bernie Machen, and athletic director Jeremy Foley before deciding it was in his best interest to focus on his health and family.

Meyer will hold a news conference this afternoon in New Orleans.

"Coach Meyer and I have talked this through, and I realize how hard this was for him to reach this decision," Foley said. "But the bottom line is that Coach Meyer needed to make a choice that is in the best interest of his well-being and his family. I certainly appreciate what he has meant to the University of Florida, our football program, and the Gator Nation. I have never seen anyone more committed to his players, his family, and his program."

A tireless recruiter and creative motivator, Meyer went to Florida from Utah after the 2004 season. He took most of his staff with him - some of whom also worked with Meyer at Bowling Green (2001-02). Together, they brought Florida its second national championship: The Gators overpowered Ohio State, 41-14, in January 2007.

Florida won another title last January by beating Oklahoma, 24-14, in Miami.

With Heisman winner Tim Tebow and just about his entire team returning this fall, Meyer spent all season coaching under intense pressure and sky-high expectations. He said he welcomed it all as the defending national champions tried to become just the second team in the last 14 years to repeat.

The Crimson Tide derailed Florida's perfect season and left Meyer in a Gainesville hospital. Team officials initially said he was treated for dehydration and released. But players and coaches later said Meyer had chest pains. Meyer refused to talk about his hospital stay, but acknowledged that he needed to take better care of himself.