Charlie Powell always believed he had an "awesome" job as head track and field coach at Penn. But it wasn't until a football coach talked about needing to take time off for health reasons that he started to be honest with himself about the rigors of the job.

"I remember reading the Urban Meyer thing, and I'm like, 'Wow, I've been feeling like that for a while,' " Powell said Monday night of Meyer, the former Florida head coach who left his job in 2010 and sat out the current season. "I know I wanted to keep going, but it was starting to affect my health."

So Powell, 57, has decided to retire after 25 years as Penn's head track and field coach to "take a step back and look at other things" - perhaps getting into another part of the track and field business rather than coach.

Powell said he is stepping down because of "stress-related issues." He did not want to get more specific.

"It's just to get away from the stress and the lifestyle," he said. "The best way to put it is, it's 90 miles an hour, 24-7-365. I need to collect my health and rejoin the real world, so to speak."

Powell, who will be succeeded on an interim basis by assistant coach Robin Martin, also served as director of the Penn Relays distance nights, held the Thursday of carnival weekend. He said he would love to continue if athletic director Steve Bilsky and carnival director Dave Johnson will have him.

Powell, who succeeded Irv "Moon" Mondschein as head coach in 1987, coached a pair of NCAA champions - Sam Burley (800 meters) and Brian Chaput (javelin) - in 2003, with Burley earning a berth on the U.S. team for the World Track and Field Championships the same year. Fourteen of his athletes earned all-America honors.

He spent four years as head coach of track and field at Delaware before joining Penn's staff in 1982 as head cross- country coach and assistant track coach.

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494