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Saturday, December 26, 2009
SEC won't be the same without Meyer

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

I knew this had been a trying season for Urban Meyer.

Urban Meyer
Florida's Urban Meyer announced he will step down as head coach of the Gators.
He admitted as much several times as the season wore on. You could also see it in his face and see it in how much weight he’d lost.

But I was like everybody else in college football when I heard the news Saturday evening, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Urban Meyer stepping down at Florida?

When you start talking about the pre-eminent coaches in college football right now, if Meyer's name isn’t the first one out of your mouth, it’s certainly one of the next two.

In five seasons, he took the Florida program to heights that not even Steve Spurrier reached.

Two national championships, two SEC championships, a Heisman Trophy winner and a 22-game winning streak speak for themselves.

But it’s refreshing to see that even a coach as young as Meyer (he’s only 45) and a coach at the top of his profession like Meyer doesn’t tempt fate.

Anybody who’s spent any amount of time around Meyer knows what his family means to him. And right now, his health and his family are the only things that matter.

There were warning signs right after the SEC championship game when he checked himself into the hospital early that next morning for what Florida officials said were dehydration issues. But Meyer had also experienced chest pains.

And now this.

First and foremost, here’s hoping that Meyer is going to be OK whether he ever returns to coaching again or not.

The SEC won’t be the same without him. That’s for sure.

Always a step ahead on the football field, let’s hope that Meyer is also a step ahead in getting out in time to live a long and healthy life and do what's really important -- enjoy his family.