Jones: Listening to the heartbeat of Urban Meyer

Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones

It is official. Doctors did listen to Coach Urban Meyer’s heart and it sounded something like this…Tebow…Tebow…Tebow.

Thinking there might be some mistake, the coach got a second opinion, but once again…Tebow…Tebow…Tebow.

Crazy, huh?

College football fans, and more importantly, Florida Gator fans, were stunned last Saturday when Coach Meyer made it known that he would no longer be coaching college football due to health issues.

While not disclosing specific information regarding his condition, what else would cause a man in the prime of his life, coaching at one of the most glamorous college football institutions, to call it quits?


Then, in an equally shocking manner, he gave a press conference on Sunday to say that he would not be resigning, but taking a leave-of-absence to figure out the issues concerning his health and to get things in order.

While I respect the coach’s comments, talking about the importance of putting God and his family before his job – something you rarely hear from a college football coach (or a coach at any level actually), I have to wonder how this will affect the Florida Gators football team.


Meyer is known as one of the hardest working coaches in all of college football. In five years, he produced two BCS titles for the Gator Nation. And while offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will be a very capable temporary replacement, questions remain, such as how this might affect recruiting.

Some have compared his decision, or indecision, to that of Brett Favre, but you really can’t make that comparison.

Favre has retired, then unretired, then retired, then unretired more times than Barack Obama has chanted “Yes We Can.”

But Favre is old by NFL standards. His days are truly numbered as his ability to withstand the beating that accompanies being an NFL QB subsides.

But Meyer, the Toledo, Ohio native, is still relatively young (45) to be a college football coach. These are the days of the Bowden’s and Paterno’s where even guys in their 70s and 80s are still getting the job done.

So what is the deal with Urban Meyer?


Everyone knows that being a football coach, especially at such a high-profile school, can take its toll on a human being. Sure, he makes a ridiculous salary, but the cost is lost time with his family, with his children.

I want to believe him when he says that his family is the most important thing to him, but if that is the case, how come it only took one short practice to make him decide that he had made the wrong decision?


Deep down, I hope things work out for Meyer. I agree that college football is better off with him than without him. I know that Florida fans want what is best for him, but really prefer to have Meyer on the sidelines in the fall.

One thing is for sure, if he does make it back by the season opener in 2010, his irregular heartbeat (Tebow…Tebow…Tebow…) will be gone!

-Hit ‘em straight!
—Dale Jones covers sports and news in Baldwin County.